After a Noble Energy storage tank that spilled 178 barrels -- about 7,500 gallons -- of oil into the Poudre River was discovered June 20, questions arose about how vulnerable some oil and gas facilities are to flood damage.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has estimated [.pdf] that "more than 5,900 oil and gas wells lie within 500 feet of a Colorado waterway that is substantial enough to be named."
By Stephanie Joyce - Wyoming Public Media & Inside Energy
Oil and gas booms can seem remote, it’s not like they happen in your backyard.
Unless they do – take Laramie County, Wyoming, where a surge in well permitting threatens to bring drilling closer to a large number of homes. Although Wyoming has a long history with oil and gas, it’s almost always been in rural areas. A boom in Laramie County would change that and some say the state is ill-prepared to deal with the issues that arise when communities bump up against drilling.
In 2012, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which is responsible for keeping track of and inspecting the tens of thousands of oil wells in the state, had just 17 inspectors to examine over 47,000 active wells.
Now, the state has added 11 more inspectors, upping their capacity to where in 2013 they were able to inspect about half of the 53,000 active wells across the state.
As Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper weighs whether to call a special legislative session to deal with oil and gas issues, the issue of property rights is on his mind.
The governor has equated some of the recently passed bans and moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing to "…snatching the property of a citizen. Just taking it without due compensation."
While in some cases the courts could interpret fracking bans as taking away private property, getting to the point where a ban is ruled a taking of private property would be time consuming and costly, experts say.