In a recent post I blogged about the risks to drinking water sources for the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, western Colorado communities, and Athens, Ohio. We think these and other important watersheds should be off limits to fracking for oil and gas. But if any oil and gas development is allowed, it should be regulated under the strongest possible rules. The watersheds at risk are subject to federal oil and gas leases, with rules set out by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM is in the process of updating its rules, which is a good thing. But the agency's proposal is too weak, and needs to go farther to protect essential drinking water sources.
The latest watershed at risk is the watershed of Denver. The BLM is considering issuing oil and gas leases near the headwaters of the South Platte River and multiple large reservoirs that serve millions of Coloradans. Three reservoirs in the area--Antero, Spinney and Eleven Mile--provide water to Denver, Aurora, Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Lakewood, Ken Caryl, Columbine, Columbine Valley, Littleton, Centennial, Greenwood Village, Cherry Hills, Federal Heights, Glendale, Lakeside and Sheridan. Thanks to Gary Wockner of Clean Water Action for this scary map that illustrates all too clearly what is at risk:
Here is an on-line petition where you can tell the BLM to write stronger rules for fracking in important watersheds, wildlife habitat, and communities across America: