Fracktivists to media: Cover fracking-related contamination in Colorado flooding.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)


TXSharon , former oil and gas industry employee, and current anti-fracking activist, and East Boulder County United continue to do citizen journalism covering the flooding and possibility of fracking contamination. The​ situation continues to deteriorate – Denver Post finally covers the story, but a Weld County resident has this reaction to the industry response:

It’s taken 5 days. Tisha Schuller, quoted in the article saying there are “thousands” of flooded wells, is the president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), the industry’s lobbying group here in Colorado. If you read the article, she’s asking that activist photo takers (who stood on broken highways and in flood waters where you can’t tell where the heck you are in all the flood waters) tell her the locations of the damaged wells! I’m dumbfounded. The drillers and lobbyists don’t know where their flooded wells are? Anadarko and Encana can’t hire a plane and fly over their own damn wells to assess the damage? They have no data transmissions indicating problems with a well?


Maybe they could just follow journalists around. Gasline rupture bubbing up through floodwaters in Greeley: (filmed by Channel 1510's Scooter McGee)

Author's note – So I'm low down on the learning curve about fracking.  I assume that industry spokespeople are lying when they say that the wellheads were shut down before the flooding and that there is no contamination – but I don't know enough myself to be able to challenge their statements intelligently. Those of you on Pols who do, please feel free to jump in anytime. – mj55

TX Sharon is a Daily Kos blogger from Texas, who often writes about environmental issues. Her Colorado Weld County friends are sending her pics and video on this disaster, specifically about probable fracking contaminants in the floodwaters. Various Facebook friends of mine  have shared this, and it seems relevant to re-post. TXSharon is trying to get wider coverage for the story, so I've posted it here, and written to her to get her permission to do so. 

From TXSharon's BlueDaze Blog:

Oil and gas wells drilled in a flood plain are under water and leaking in Weld County Colorado. There is at least one pipeline that broke as the dirt supporting it was washed away. Hydrocarbons and no telling what else are leaking into the flood waters yet the media is silent.


TXSharon's blog, which she will continue to update, shows tanks and equipment floating downstream, apparently contaminating the floodwaters. The blog also features first hand accounts from Weld County residents, and excerpts from the sparse media coverage.  

Erica Meltzer wrote in a Boulder Daily Camera article:

Lafayette-based anti-fracking activist Cliff Willmeng said he spent two days “zig-zagging” across Weld and Boulder counties documenting flooded drilling sites, mostly along the drainageway of the St. Vrain River. He observed “hundreds” of wells that were inundated. He also saw many condensate tanks that hold waste material from fracking at odd angles or even overturned.

“It’s clear that the density of the oil and gas activity there did not respect where the water would go,” Willmeng said. “What we immediately need to know is what is leaking and we need a full detailed report of what that is. This is washing across agricultural land and into the waterways. Now we have to discuss what type of exposure the human population is going to have to suffer through.”

A spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said the agency is aware of the potential for contamination from flooded drilling sites, but there simply is no way to get to those sites while flooding is ongoing and while resources are concentrated on saving lives.

TXSharon concludes:

Apparently all sides agree that there is a contamination risk. So I hope the industry apologists will, at least, stop using my bandwidth trying to convince us otherwise.


More comments, photos, and updates available on the East Boulder County United Facebook page.​

Damien Gillis of Commonsense Canadian has an excellent article with more photos and quotes from Mr. Willmeng. 


About kwtree

Retired teacher, aspiring writer, doting grandma. Nosy, curious, persistent.

4 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ClubTwitty says:

    Thanks for this.  I was thinking of writing one…  Its not just the obvious infrastructure, floating tanks and ruptured pipelines–although that is serious, but also all the waste pits.  At best these contain produced water–deep from the earth, highly saline, often contaminated with hydrocarbons…at worst frack fluid flowback, the above + whatever fracking chemicals have come back up.  Since there is virtually no way to clean up toxins spread by flood waters over a large area, consider this yet another socialized cost of being so lucky as to have someone else's minerals under your town, schools and homes. 

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      B, b, b, b, bu, bu, but, but . . . didn't someone high up in our State just drink a glass of floodwater to show us all just how safe this stuff really is . . . ?

    • Duke Cox says:

      I will be very interested to see how many O&G loving, Weld county farmers and country folk will be crying for help from the government they hate so much and want to starve.
      How many times have I heard some oily boy asshole tell me that I should not be allowed to use natural gas if I challenge the industry they adore?
      How about, “no emergency assistance for registered Republicans and Libertarians”.
      Seems fair, doesn’t it?

    • mamajama55 says:

      CT, you should still write a follow up on what has been investigated and found to be hazardous, and what the agency/industry/media/government responses are…I am no fracking expert, just was spreading the concerns that activists had. Thanks, mj55

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