Fri February 11, 2011

Land Board Pulls Controversial Gas Leasing Near Reservoir

State land board officials have decided against opening up land near a reservoir in central Colorado for oil and gas drilling, a move being hailed by conservationists who worry the area is too close to a major source of drinking water for Denver.

Next week’s sale had included two parcels of land near the Antero Reservoir in Park County.  The non-profit group Be the Change USA and others worry that hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – by oil and gas companies interested in drilling in the area could lead to groundwater contamination.  Fracking is a widespread technique that enables companies to puncture through tight sand formations to extract gas.  Some states have moved to try to ban it due to concerns about pollution. 

At a meeting today in Denver, Colorado State Land Board officials said staffers have removed the two parcels from the sale.  Meantime, the remaining 100 other parcels around the state are still slated for the auction next week.