Rep. Polis calls for congressional hearings on oil spills after CO flooding

Posted on: 11:29 am, September 27, 2013, by

Members of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

Members of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

DENVER — Congressman Jared Polis is asking for a hearing in the House Resources Committee on oil and gas spills caused by the flooding in Colorado two weeks ago.

“Not only have my constituents been dealing with damage to their homes, schools, and roads, they are increasingly concerned about the toxic spills that have occurred from the flooding of nearly 1,900 fracking wells in Colorado,” Polis wrote in a letter to Resource Committee Chairman Doc Hastings. “Congress must deal with this issue to ensure that natural disasters do not also become public health disasters.”

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said Tuesday that there are 11 reported spills as a result of flooding damage.

In total about 34,500 gallons of oil have spilled. Two of the 11 releases are still being assessed.
For comparison, that amount would fill a large 25x45x4 backyard swimming pool.
“To date, less than 1 percent of shut in wells have had any isolated incidents due to debris-filled flood waters,” said spokesman Doug Flanders. “Operators continue to work with state and federal regulatory agencies for clean-up and remediation.”

“We are concerned that these spills and leaks may pose health risks to individuals who are already dealing with damage and destruction to their homes and property,” Polis said in the letter. “We would benefit from learning more about how disasters like this can impact local communities, states, and federal regulators.”