Lynn Abbott: Time for Pilot series
January 28, 2012
Your recent articles regarding oil and gas development in Routt County bring to mind many questions. It would be marvelous to reap the benefits of new jobs for Routt County and to reduce dependence on foreign oil for our nation, but first we must learn how this would affect our community.
One well is already in place near Wolf Mountain. A proposed second well on the Camilletti property was tabled until March 1 by the Routt County Planning Commission. While the county researches the issues regarding the tabled proposal, the Steamboat Pilot & Today has an opportunity to present an authoritative series of articles giving us all an accurate picture of what to expect if these two exploratory wells were to go into full production and if many more wells were to be permitted in the future. Here are a few questions to start the conversation:
■ How many trucks a day will haul out the oil produced? Will they carry that oil through downtown Steamboat to the refinery in Commerce City or through Hayden to Utah? How will the natural gas be moved?
■ How equipped are our roads and bridges for this traffic? Will the oil companies pay for road construction and repair?
■ How prepared are we for an emergency such as an explosion, fire or cave-in at the well site?
■ In your article of Jan. 18, what does the third tank in the picture contain? Its contents are described as "well fluids," but what are they?
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■ Will there be hydraulic fracturing at these wells? If so, what fluids will be used? Where will the water come from and how will the used water be disposed of? Is waterless fracking an option?
■ What will be the effect on our water and air quality?
■ Do we know how many wells could potentially be permitted?
Social, economic concerns
■ How many jobs for these projects will go to local workers?
■ How many people will be imported? Where will they be housed?
■ What impact can our schools expect?
■ Some oil-boom communities have experienced increases in drug and alcohol use, crime and sexually transmitted disease. What precautions can we take to avoid these?
■ How will this affect property values? Our tourism industry?
I inherited mineral rights years ago from my grandfather, and I hold oil and gas leases. It is therefore especially important to me that if these leases go forward, it is with the utmost care and concern for the people and environment of Routt County. Please use your investigative resources to inform your readers about the impacts of the proposed oil and gas drilling on our communities.