EARTHWORKS

Colorado health and toxics

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Drill rig immediately behind the Meese ranch near Silt, Colorado. Photo: Western Colorado Congress

Oil and gas development is rapidly advancing throughout Colorado. As currently practiced, it threatens public health.

Regulatory gaps put public health at risk

Citizens in Colorado are worried about the hazardous chemicals used during drilling and production, and the health impacts of the pollution released from oil and gas operations.

Lack of disclosure

Lack of chemical disclosure and monitoring leave Colorado communities in the dark about oil and gas health impacts.

Many Colorado residents are experiencing health impacts that they believe are directly related to the release of oil and gas industry chemicals and wastes.

Residents, as well, are experiencing frustration with the lack of monitoring and information provided by industry and government representatives, when spills or chemical releases occur.

Unfortunately, there are regulatory gaps that prevent emergency preparedness staff, water utilities, local and environmental staff, medical professionals, health departments, and people living in close proximity to oil and gas facilities from obtaining complete information on the oil and gas industry chemicals that are being transported through, stored, and used and released in their communities.

Cause for citizen concern

The chemical products used throughout the exploration, drilling and production phases of Colorado's oil and gas development are made up of a wide variety of chemical compounds.

Although it is common to hear from industry and some state agency representatives that drilling and production chemicals and wastes are benign, there is competing industry information indicating that toxic chemicals are used and released throughout the development process.

The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Inc. (TEDX) reviewed oil and gas industry chemicals being used in Western Colorado. The TEDX data indicated that numerous oil and gas industry chemicals present risks to human and environmental health.

There are a variety of sources of contamination and pathways for oil and gas contaminants to enter the environment and affect human health, and ample evidence that these chemicals are being released to the environment via air and water.

What citizens can do

In June of 2006, OGAP submitted a letter to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) on behalf of five citizens organizations in Colorado. The groups asked that state agencies to require disclosure of the chemicals used and monitoring of chemicals and wastes released by the oil and gas industry in Colorado.

The five organizations include:

Contact the group nearest you to find out how you can participate in this effort.


For more information:

Tagged with: toxics, regulation, public health, oil and gas, disclosure, colorado

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