Oil & Gas Future In El Paso County Prompts Questions

POSTED: 08:50 AM MDT Sep 21, 2011    UPDATED: 01:45 AM MDT Aug 19, 2011 

The prospect for oil and natural gas in El Paso County prompted a question and answer session in El Paso County Thursday night. Natural resource leaders for the state were on hand to answer questions about the industry from about 100 people in attendance.

State and local elected leaders called the meeting educational for the public. Many of the questions from the public focused on contamination and making sure companies aren't polluting the water and ground.

"That's why I think people are concerned," said State Representative Marsha Looper. "When you have no water then you have no life, no economy."

Interest in fracking for shale oil in Colorado has spiking over the last decade but water experts for the state said 5,000 water samples over that time have found no contamination problems. Still, there are other concerns when it comes to fracking and water.

"Many of the constituents in my district have grave concerns that with the introduction of large scale oil and gas production it's going to dry up the ground water and aquifers," said State Representative Marsha Looper.

Here's a link to Looper's website with more information shared at the meeting.

It's not just county land that's ripe for fracking. Most of Colorado is in the Niobrara shale area. Doug Flanders, with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, said because Colorado now sits where a western interior seaway was 90 million years ago it is now prime real estate for oil and gas companies to find new sources of domestic oil.

The Banning Lewis Ranch is another area that could be home to drilling in the future. City of Colorado Springs leaders have been in talks with the oil and gas company that is buying the foreclosed property. Mayor Steve Bach said last week it is a real possibility that the land will eventually be used simply for drilling and fracking.