Three northwestern Colorado counties have reported 5.6 million gallons of spilled oil and gas fluids from 2001 to 2010, according to a report released by The Bull Moose Sportsmen Alliance.
The alliance, who conducted the report, is a national non-profit group of sportsmen focusing on conservation, hunters and anglers rights, and 2nd Amendment rights. In their report, the group claims that wildlife, wildlife habitat and groundwater have been tainted by the spills.
Oil and gas companies in Garfield, Rio Blanco and Mesa counties have reported 992 spills--mostly wastewater, frac water or produced water, mainly caused by equipment failures--within the 2001-2011 time period. Data from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission shows that those three counties also have the most permits issued in the state, close behind Weld County, during the first quarter of 2011. Less than half of the spills were ever recovered.
Most of the spills occurred over a 2.5 year period between 2008 and mid 2010. From 2010 to the first quarter of 2011, Colorado has reported a 32 percent increase in new wells, up to 608 new wells--more startups in the first quarter than Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico's San Juan Basin, and Montana combined.
From the analysis:
Hunting, angling, and wildlife related recreation accounts for the second largest tourism industry in the state of Colorado representing over $3 million annually and 34,100 full time jobs (source: Colorado Division of Wildlife). Annual spending by Colorado sportsmen is 2.5 times more than the combined revenues of the Colorado Rockies, the Denver Broncos and the Denver Nuggets ($1.2 billion vs. $463 million), according to a study conducted by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation.
In Garfield, Rio Blanco and Mesa counties, hunting and angling activity generates nearly $40 million each year and provides full-time employment for 1,800 people (source: Colorado Division of Wildlife).