Enthusiasm for a Weld County oil and gas boom tempered by fears of fracking

Weld County on Colorado’s northern Front Range is on the verge of another major oil and gas drilling boom, according to the Greeley Tribune, which points to the completion of a new pipeline and other technological advances as major factors.

The White Cliffs Pipeline and new Platteville Truck Unloading Facility have oil and gas producers licking their chops over improved access to the crude oil and condensate of the Wattenberg field, which also produces natural gas. County officials also say 200 Anadarko new wells could be drilled along the Wyoming border in far northern Weld County.

Any new surge in drilling activity in the area is likely to be met with more calls for tighter state and local regulation of hydraulic fracturing – a source of controversy (and some say flaming tap water) in rural areas near Fort Lupton and other northern Colorado cities.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced plans to launch a comprehensive study of the practice, which injects oil and gas wells with water, sand and chemicals to increase production.

Critics say the study will finally demonstrate fracking can result in groundwater contamination, while industry proponents are certain the process will be proven safe near populated areas.

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