CU forum to highlight fracking, groundwater

BOULDER – The University of Colorado-Boulder is inviting the public to an informational workshop on Monday, Nov. 26, to discuss groundwater protection in areas around oil and gas drilling sites.

The workshop comes as debate over practices such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has reached a fever pitch in Colorado. Longmont voters on Nov. 6 approved a ban on fracking, the state may soon require energy companies to test groundwater quality before and after they drill new wells, and Gov. John Hickenlooper is trying to get all sides in the contentious issue to talk to each other to avoid lawsuits.

The workshop will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Wolf Law Building on the CU-Boulder campus. Titled “Monitoring and Protecting Groundwater during Oil and Gas Development,” it will focus on procedures that can impact groundwater, state regulations that protect it, changes proposed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and other recommendations. The commission plans to finalize new regulations at a meeting Dec. 10.

“Energy, jobs and a clean environment, including clean and sufficient groundwater, are extremely important to Colorado today and for our future,´ said Kathryn Mutz, Natural Resources Law Center senior research associate and Intermountain Oil and Gas Best Management Practices Project manager, in a press statement. “Ensuring groundwater protection during oil and gas development is one important part of the puzzle. This workshop is providing a venue outside of the formal commission rulemaking process to discuss and educate ourselves and the stakeholders about the alternatives so that we get this rule right for Colorado.”

The workshop is free and open to the public and is co-sponsored by the CU-Boulder Natural Resources Law Center and the Colorado Water and Energy Research Center. Continuing Legal Education credits are available to attendees for a fee.

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