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As the debate over hydraulic fracturing and health issues related to natural gas drilling has heated up in Garfield County in recent weeks, KJCT News 8 in Grand Junction today is reporting an early morning fire at a Williams’ well eight miles south of Rifle. The fire was reportedly put out in about an hour and half, with minimal damage and no injuries, but the incident is sure to prompt even more calls for tighter local regulation of the oil and gas industry. Williams is the most active drilling company in Garfield County, which saw the second most drilling permits issued in the state in 2010.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel on Sunday did a good job of painting the big picture in terms of the massive scale of energy...
In light of new evidence natural-gas drilling may be introducing elevated levels of the carcinogen benzene into the air around the Western Slope towns...
In the late 1960s and early '70s, four nuclear devices were exploded underground on Colorado's Western Slope in an effort to free up commercially marketable amounts of natural gas from dense sandstone formations.
It’s been nearly eight months since former Garfield County Judge Steve Carter says he was ambushed by oil and gas money in his unsuccessful bid for county commissioner, but the Democrat is clearly still seething about what he considers a “stolen election.”
Rifle Mayor Keith Lambert, in an effort to offset the ups and downs of the fossil fuel industry, is offering free or very cheap city-owned land to renewable energy companies interested in relocating to the Western Slope natural-gas capital.
Recent talk of using nuclear energy to power the oil shale industry on Colorado’s Western Slope has elicited a wide range of reactions from government officials at what would be the epicenter of such a move — from serious doubt to matter-of-fact support.
Everyone agrees that tapping into the massive oil shale reserves of Northwest Colorado would be a huge power drain and that bringing enough coal-fired power plants online to handle production could be a virtual impossibility. But now there’s talk of using nuclear power to provide enough juice to heat up and squeeze oil from the rocks and sand of the Western Slope. With some studies showing upwards of 10 coal-fired power plants would be necessary to power the oil-shale industry at peak production, going nuclear may be the next best option, according to Aaron Diaz, executive director of Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado.
One Garfield County commissioner is trying to make the others toe the party line behind majority opinions.
Falling natural gas prices and more stringent state drilling regulations won’t deter some energy companies from going full bore on Colorado’s Western Slope, but conservation groups hope their lawsuit in U.S. District Court will at least block drilling on the Roan Plateau near Rifle.