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When the boundaries of Colorado House District 57 were redrawn over the last year, Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties were left with an open race and no incumbent. As the 2012 elections approach, the district 57 candidates have used this opportunity to shape the discussion around issues like education reform, balancing the state's budget and the health and economic impacts of energy extraction.
Republican candidate Bob Rankin stopped by the KDNK studio this week to discuss some of those very issues.
KDNK's Eric Skalac asked Rankin about his stance on the efforts of the Thompson Divide Coalition to restrict or eliminate gas drilling leases and about the broader issue of balancing multiple uses on land coveted by diverse interests.
When the boundaries of district 57 were redrawn over the last year, Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties were left with an open race and no incumbent. As the 2012 elections approach, the district 57 candidates have used this opportunity to shape the discussion around issues like education reform, balancing the state's budget and the health and economic impacts of energy extraction.
Democratic candidate Jo Ann Baxter came by the KDNK studio on First Friday to talk about the important issues this campaign season. And in Garfield County, few issues capture the public's interest like gas drilling.
KDNK's Eric Skalac asked Baxter about the controversy surrounding municipal regulations for mineral extraction, and the state's lawsuit against the town of Longmont for defining their own gas drilling rules.
For Baxter's views on education reform, water conservation and medical marijuana, click here.
The newly minted director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission came to Garfield County last week. The former environmental lawyer talked about the current agenda and priorities at the state's regulating commission for gas and oil. KDNK's Marilyn Gleason brings a report.
At a meeting in Basalt last week, citizens from the Roaring Fork Valley and Sal Pace, Democratic candidate for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, all talked about the impacts of natural gas drilling south of Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Area ranchers, environmental groups, and others discussed the possible impacts to wildlife habitat, local water sources, cattle grazing, and the tourist economy of local towns. They told Pace they're not against natural gas drilling; they just don't want it on the Thompson Divide.
But, what makes the fight to keep energy companies out of Thompson Divide different from those who simply don't want gas drilling in their backyards?
KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh was at the Basalt meeting and brings this report.
Tuesday night, Carbondale trustees again discussed drilling in the Thompson Divide. This time though, they were talking about the impact heavy trucks involved in gas drilling could have on Carbondale's West Main Street. KDNK's Eric Skalac spoke with town manager Jay Harrington after the meeting to find out more about the proposal put together by Schmueser Gordon Meyer, or SGM.
Carbondale trustees got a visit from EnCana Corporation Tuesday night, when an engineer and a stakeholder relations advisor gave a presentation on hydraulic fracturing.
EnCana is one of the largest natural gas operators in the country, and here in Garfield County, they're a major player in the extraction of natural gas. Last night, engineer Mark Balderston assured the board that because of the use of best practices when it comes to safety, they're in control of the "whole situation, all the time".
KDNK Eric Skalac caught up with Balderston after his presentation to the board to find out more about what happens to wells once they're depleted, and about how spills of produced water are treated.
The Bureau of Land Management is still deliberating about unitizing natural gas leases in the mountains south of Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. But, the Thompson Divide Coalition wants some kind of action. The Carbondale-based group sent a letter this week to energy companies, offering cash and an invitation to talk. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh has this report.
Last month's state law requiring companies to disclose the ingredients of their fracking fluid has been called the most comprehensive and transparent in the country. But House Representative Roger Wilson says there are still aspects of the drilling process that need scrutiny. KDNK's Ed Williams sat down with Representative Wilson to talk about a bill he's introducing in the legislature.
Last week, for the first time ever, government scientists drew a direct link between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water contamination. The contaminated aquifer was in Wyoming, but as KDNK's Ed Williams reports, the finding has implications here in Colorado.
Environmental groups and Colorado's oil and gas industry have set aside their differences to support a new rule for hydraulic fracturing. State regulators approved the rule on Tuesday, which requires oil and gas companies to publicly disclose the chemicals and fluids used in fracturing. As Bente Birkeland reports, it's being hailed as the most transparent rule in the country.