Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Visualize the growth of fracking

Posted By on Wed, Nov 19, 2014 at 3:17 PM

  • Center for Western Priorities

We all know that there's an oil and gas boom underway in the state, but it's often tough to visualize what that means.

That's why I was so thrilled by the animated maps that the Center for Western Priorities just released. I'm probably revealing my geeky side by saying this, but these things are awesome. You definitely want to hit the link and see them for yourselves, but just to give you a quick preview, they show the number of oil and gas wells in the state from 1990 to 2013 as a series of red dots. You start in 1990 and watch the red dots grow as each successive year ticks off. 

The growth is truly astonishing.

Some might remember that Gov. John Hickenlooper forged a last minute deal that kept several oil and gas related initiatives off the ballot this month. Hickenlooper agreed to form an Oil and Gas Task Force that would explore ways to better shield communities from the impacts of the industry while also allowing it to grow. Many Colorado communities have passed or sought laws that either banned oil and gas development within their borders or created limitations like setbacks. The state has fought those restrictions.

DENVER — The Center for Western Priorities (CWP) released a series of animated maps today that show, for the first time, the tremendous pace and scale of Colorado’s oil and gas drilling boom as it progresses in and around communities across the state.

Using publicly-available data from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, CWP mapped and created animated GIFs of every oil and gas well drilled near the key population centers of Greeley (displayed below), Rifle, and Durango between 1990 and 2013. In total, almost 28,000 wells have been drilled over the last twenty-four years around these three communities.

“The scale of recent drilling around Colorado’s population centers is striking. We need to balance the economic impacts of the oil and gas boom with the quality of life needs of Colorado’s local communities,” said Greg Zimmerman, Policy Director at CWP.

Zimmerman also pointed to the relevance of these data and visualizations given the current task force process underway in Colorado: “Governor Hickenlooper’s Oil and Gas Task Force has a real opportunity over the coming months to design recommendations and policies that strike a balance between energy development and the health and welfare of Coloradans. As the energy boom continues to spread into populated areas, we need assurances that communities have a seat at the table and that their very real concerns don’t fall on deaf ears,” said Zimmerman.

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