Quantcast

Don't Frack Denver's Water

Energy

Gary Wockner

The Spinney Mountain Reservoir.

What has separated the fracking wars in the Eastern U.S. from the Western U.S. is that New York City's and Pittsburgh's watershed—the place where these cities get their drinking water—is proposed to be fracked. As you can expect, when millions of people learn that potentially cancer-causing chemicals are going to be injected into the ground near their drinking water, they get very riled up.

Conversely in Colorado, fracking has mostly occurred on the plains and near the suburbs, whereas Denver's watershed is upstream in the mountains.

Until now.

Last year, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed to lease publicly owned land in Park County, Colorado for drilling and fracking. Park County is the headwaters of the South Platte River, upstream of Denver, and the location of multiple large reservoirs for Denver and Aurora, Colorado's drinking water, serving over two million people for Denver and Aurora combined.

Antero, Spinney and Eleven Mile Reservoirs, are all located on the South Platte River in Park County. These three reservoirs have a combined storage capacity of more than 170,000 acre-feet of drinking water. Approximately 40 percent of Denver Water and Aurora Water's drinking water supply comes from these three reservoirs. Communities served include Aurora, Denver, Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Lakewood, Ken Caryl, Columbine, Columbine Valley, Littleton, Centennial, Greenwood Village, Cherry Hills, Federal Heights, Glendale, Lakeside and Sheridan.

Just two hours from Denver, the South Park Basin is a popular destination for fishing, including gold medal fisheries on the South Platte River and at Spinney Mountain Reservoir.

Unfortunately, the BLM's Colorado Director, Helen Hankins, who oversees development on more than 281,000 acres in the South Park Basin, has twice entertained drilling over the last two years next to Antero, Spinney Mountain and Eleven Mile Reservoirs and the South Platte River.

A few weeks ago, Hankins temporarily "deferred" (delayed) the leasing, citing concerns about fracking and drinking water supplies, but the public BLM land could be put on the auction block again in the next few months. In fact, that's exactly what Hankins has done on other BLM land in Colorado—first delay, and then later lease.

The threat we are seeing to Denver's water supply is due directly to Hankins' failed leadership. Instead of taking a balanced approach, Hankins is currently relying on a 16-year-old plan that left the entire region open to energy development and failed to take into account any serious consideration of impacts to the watershed and Denver's drinking water. We believe that Hankins should make decisions that protect local communities and the environment, and not make decisions that favor oil and gas industry profits.

Director Hankins should protect Denver's drinking water instead of being a real estate agent for oil and gas companies.

Don't Frack Denver's Water is a coalition of conservation and fractivist groups that are working to get broad community support for a Master Leasing Plan (MLP) for the South Park Basin. Creating a MLP would require that a stakeholder group be formed to address the leasing threat, and that drinking water advocates in Denver—including fractivists—have a seat at that table. Additionally, prohibiting fracking near Denver's water supply would be forced to be on the table as one of the options considered in the Plan.

We need to take action now so that the possibly cancer-causing fracking chemical threat doesn't spread even farther and faster throughout the urban areas of the Denver region. The South Platte River flows from Park County, down into Chatfield Reservoir, and then right through the heart of downtown Denver. This isn't some distant problem out in the suburbs or up in northern Colorado anymore—it's home for Denver residents.

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

--------

Click here to sign a petition to tell the Bureau of Land Management to issue strong rules for federal fracking leases on public lands.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter


georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images

By Jennifer Molidor

One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.

Read More Show Less
Edwin Remsburg / VW Pics / Getty Images

Botswana, home to one third of Africa's elephants, announced Wednesday that it was lifting its ban on the hunting of the large mammals.

"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pxhere

By Richard Denison

Readers of this blog know how concerned EDF is over the Trump EPA's approval of many dozens of new chemicals based on its mere "expectation" that workers across supply chains will always employ personal protective equipment (PPE) just because it is recommended in the manufacturer's non-binding safety data sheet (SDS).

Read More Show Less
De Molen windmill and nuclear power plant cooling tower in Doel, Belgium. Trougnouf / CC BY-SA 4.0

By Grant Smith

From 2009 to 2012, Gregory Jaczko was chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which approves nuclear power plant designs and sets safety standards for plants. But he now says that nuclear power is too dangerous and expensive — and not part of the answer to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
A lake in Rocky Mountain National Park. Brett Walton / Circle of Blue

By Brett Walton

When Greg Wetherbee sat in front of the microscope recently, he was looking for fragments of metals or coal, particles that might indicate the source of airborne nitrogen pollution in Rocky Mountain National Park. What caught his eye, though, were the plastics.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Gabriele Holtermann Gorden / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

In a big victory for animals, Prada has announced that it's ending its use of fur! It joins Coach, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood, Michael Kors, Donna Karan and many others PETA has pushed toward a ban.

This is a victory more than a decade in the making. PETA and our international affiliates have crashed Prada's catwalks with anti-fur signs, held eye-catching demonstrations all around the world, and sent the company loads of information about the fur industry. In 2018, actor and animal rights advocate Pamela Anderson sent a letter on PETA's behalf urging Miuccia Prada to commit to leaving fur out of all future collections, and the iconic designer has finally listened.

Read More Show Less
Amer Ghazzal / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

If people in three European countries want to fight the climate crisis, they need to chill out more.

That's the conclusion of a new study from think tank Autonomy, which found that Germany, the UK and Sweden all needed to drastically reduce their workweeks to fight climate change.

"The rapid pace of labour-saving technology brings into focus the possibility of a shorter working week for all, if deployed properly," Autonomy Director Will Stronge said, The Guardian reported. "However, while automation shows that less work is technically possible, the urgent pressures on the environment and on our available carbon budget show that reducing the working week is in fact necessary."

The report found that if the economies of Germany, Sweden and the UK maintain their current levels of carbon intensity and productivity, they would need to switch to a six, 12 and nine hour work week respectively if they wanted keep the rise in global temperatures to the below two degrees Celsius promised by the Paris agreement, The Independent reported.

The study based its conclusions on data from the UN and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in all three countries.

The report comes as the group Momentum called on the UK's Labour Party to endorse a four-day work week.

"We welcome this attempt by Autonomy to grapple with the very real changes society will need to make in order to live within the limits of the planet," Emma Williams of the Four Day Week campaign said in a statement reported by The Independent. "In addition to improved well-being, enhanced gender equality and increased productivity, addressing climate change is another compelling reason we should all be working less."

Supporters of the idea linked it to calls in the U.S. and Europe for a Green New Deal that would decarbonize the economy while promoting equality and well-being.

"This new paper from Autonomy is a thought experiment that should give policymakers, activists and campaigners more ballast to make the case that a Green New Deal is absolutely necessary," Common Wealth think tank Director Mat Lawrence told The Independent. "The link between working time and GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions has been proved by a number of studies. Using OECD data and relating it to our carbon budget, Autonomy have taken the step to show what that link means in terms of our working weeks."

Stronge also linked his report to calls for a Green New Deal.

"Becoming a green, sustainable society will require a number of strategies – a shorter working week being just one of them," he said, according to The Guardian. "This paper and the other nascent research in the field should give us plenty of food for thought when we consider how urgent a Green New Deal is and what it should look like."

Amazon Employees for Climate Justice held a press conference after the annual shareholder meeting on May 22. Amazon Employees for Climate Justice

Amazon shareholders voted down an employee-backed resolution calling for more aggressive action on climate change at their annual meeting Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Read More Show Less