The increase in spills follows occurs after two years of decline
The state of Colorado saw a 17% increase in oil and gas industry spills throughout 2017, following two years of decline. The state received reports of roughly 12 incidents every week, many of which involved pipeline leaks.
All spills are reported to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and demonstrate environmental harm potentially tied to an increase in the total number of wells throughout the state, which now numbers more than 55,000.
The total number of spills totaled 619, up from the 2016 total of 529. Despite this increase, however, the total volume of oil and gas spilled saw a decline since the year range of 2009 to 2013, which again can likely be attributed to the substantial uptick in the number of wells.
According to Deputy Director Jessica Goad of Conservation Colorado, one of the state’s largest environmental organizations, the state legislative process should focus more heavily on tempering this recent increase in environmental harm.
“The oil and gas impacts on Colorado are only getting greater. And they are not going to go away soon. There are myriad impacts,” Goad said. “Damage to our water. Oil and gas well fragmentation of habitat. Air pollution caused by the leaking methane. Not to mention public health and safety.”
Conservation Colorado has specifically called for lawmakers to address the cumulative environmental impacts that such spills contribute to, including the degradation of the state’s land air, and water.
22 incidents remain under investigation relating to the contamination of domestic water wells by gas.