w/ Ken Buck energy policy poll
[Headline updated by request]
The Durango Herald has an interview up with GOP Senate hopeful Ken Buck. In it Buck disavows any knowledge of problems from (onshore) oil and gas drilling.
DH: It seems like most complaints about the gas industry come from the Western Slope, and not the area you’re from. Have you had much experience with that?
Buck: I had not heard complaints about the gas industry. What kind of complaints are you talking about?
DH: Complaints from landowners about wells being put in places they don’t want, complaints about toxic releases from wells, water pollution, things like that.
Buck: I haven’t heard those complaints. I haven’t heard any complaints about contaminated drinking water from wells. If it happens, it certainly should be closely examined, because it is a danger to human health, but I think it’s very rare. When you think of the thousands of oil and gas wells we have in Colorado, I don’t know what the prevalence is of that issue. [Emphasis Twitty]
Let’s state the obvious: Jobs are good but water is essential.
Perhaps he has just been busy placating Tea Partiers, but should Mr. Buck head off to Washington he needs to be able to consider energy policy in terms of what is happening back here in the Colorado gaspatch.
A quick primer on that experience follows.
DENVER – Oil and gas companies have reported almost 1,000 spills to Colorado regulators over the past 2 1/2 years, totaling 5.2 million gallons of drilling liquids and oil.
They ranged from small oil leaks from half-closed valves to thousands of barrels of tainted water that escaped from pits.
Spills, of course, may or may not affect stream and riparian habitat, irrigation, or drinking water. But, courtesy of drilling, we also have direct contamination of water wells. Certainly any candidate purporting to be ready to represent the state should acquaint him or herself with these well-known, on-going cases before sounding off. Someone neglected his due diligence.
Contamination of the first spring was detected after Ned Prather became ill by drinking benzene-tainted water May 30, 2008. Benzene, a carcinogen associated with oil and gas production, later was found in a second spring.
Richard Djokic, attorney for the Prather family, said it’s his understanding that the latest sampling continues to show benzene is present in both springs.
The state is investigating nearby operations by Williams Production RMT as the possible source of the first spring’s contamination and suspects OXY USA in the case of the second spring.
Finally who can forget the flaming water taps, including those right there in Weld County–where Mr. Buck was DA.
No one will deny that the oil and gas industry is important to Colorado’s economy. But sensible regulations exist for a reason, not simply for their own sake. Protecting our water sources should not be a question–if companies want the resource they have to protect things that matter. Candidates, and politicians, should demand no less.
At the least candidates for serious positions should educate themselves about what this activity entails, not just mimic industry talking points to advance a political career. [poll id=”1166″]