Fracking: 4,900 Colorado spills since 2000 -- and here's how to map ones near you
Proponents of more local control over oil and gas drilling in Colorado are gearing up to spend millions on a slew of ballot measures this fall, and no less an authority than Representative Jared Polis (the anti-fracking movement's poster boy) estimates that the energy industry will spend as much as $50 million trying to defeat those measures. So how is the beleaguered voter supposed to cut through the blizzard of hype on both sides and get some hard data on the industry's track record in this much-fracked state?

No easy task, to be sure, but the folks at the conservation-minded Center for Western Priorities have come up with a tool that could very well come in handy this election season: an interactive map plotting oil and natural gas spills in Colorado and New Mexico over more than a decade.

The Western Toxic Release Map displays in graphic form the environmental degradation resulting from drilling operations, recording more than 13,600 spills in Colorado and New Mexico that occurred between 2000 and 2013. Actually, the two states topped 15,000 spills in that period, amounting to roughly 100 million gallons of oil, fracking fluids and other toxic gunk getting inflicted on the landscape, but 1,668 of those spills aren't on the map because of reporting errors.
A closeup on one Western Slope spill.
The map distinguishes oil spills from brine or drilling water or other types of releases by color, and clicking on individual dots can lead you to a more extensive report on those particular blunders. Colorado saw 4,900 spills since 2000, which works out to about one per day. New Mexico's total is more than double that -- not because the operators are twice as sloppy there, but because spill reporting requirements are stricter in the Land of Enchantment.

Just how significant those spills are in environmental terms is another matter. The Center also offers a Colorado Toxic Release Tracker that keeps a running tally of each year's spills and their impact on water resources. Out of the 156 spills reported to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission so far this year, for example, only nine (6 percent) resulted in documented contamination of groundwater or surface water. But more than half those spills occurred within a thousand feet of surface water, and more than a third of them were less than a hundred feet from groundwater.

What does this mean to your neighborhood and Uncle Myron's farm? Head for the map and find out.

More from our Environment archive circa February 3: "Fracking linked to birth defects? Colorado study fuels debate."

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For Immediate Release

Colorado State Ballot Initiative 75 the “Right to Local Government” Clears Final Hurdle at Colorado Supreme Court


Cliff Willmeng 303 478 6613

Lotus 719 337 0029

Merrily Mazza 720 556 1286

Legal council and organizers from the Colorado Community Rights Network received notice today from the Colorado Supreme Court that ballot initiative # 75, the “Right to Local Self Government,” has cleared its final legal challenge, and is now headed toward signature gathering to place it onto the 2014 ballot. The ballot initiative, the first of its kind, succeeded in clearing all phases of State approval as well as two corporate legal challenges designed to keep the initiative from a democratic vote of Colorado citizens.

The ballot initiative asserts, “People have an inherent and inalienable right to local self-government.” It goes on to say that the power to enact local laws protecting the health, safety, and welfare of individuals, communities, and nature will not be subject to preemption by higher levels of government, and that local governments will have the power to restrict the ability of corporations to interfere with such laws. Preemption has been used by the Colorado Mining Association to overturn a five-county ban on the industrial use of cyanide in gold mining, and is currently being employed against the communities of Longmont, Lafayette, and Fort Collins in their efforts to protect their people and cities from the harmful effects of modern oil and gas extraction. 

The Colorado Community Rights Network will now begin to print petitions and organize volunteer signature gatherers throughout the state. The current volunteer structure spans over 30 Colorado cities and will grow through statewide presentations and ongoing organizing efforts.

The Colorado Community Rights Network supports the view that our fundamental rights are universal, and that the current legal framework that favors corporations over people and communities threatens the essence of democracy. Ballot initiative #75 addresses the inherent problems of corporate-centered law. It is part of the larger national community rights movement to bring full democratic rights and protections to communities across Colorado and the United States.

The Colorado Community Rights Network is the umbrella organization advancing ballot measure #75, the Colorado Community Rights Amendment, and helping local communities create their own protections against corporate activities that interfere with the rights of local communities and of individuals. Founded in January 2014, the Colorado Community Rights Network now is working on both the state and local level. 


I think what is most disturbing is how incomplete this map actually is:  the benzene leak at SunCor in Commerce City & the pollution that makes the water at Confluence Park such a hazard to both man and beast both seem to be missing. 

My guess is that a comprehensive map of all industrial and corporate pollution in the Denver area would be absolutely horrifying. 

muhutdafuga topcommenter

What could possibly go wrong with the Keystone XL pipeline?  There aren't any bad people that want to hurt America that would exploit such a target. 

muhutdafuga topcommenter

@stanley1 @muhutdafuga You must be a radical right wing nut.  I diagnose you as defective based on your childish name calling and your lack of information.  You sound like you get your news from fauKKKs, and research has shown that those getting their "news" from fauKKKs knew less than those that got their news from Comedy Central.  Only a radical right wing nut could make so many mistakes in such a short post.

Let me educate you:  Timmy McVeigh, typical right winger.  Osama b. Laden, conservative.  Here are a few of your fellow conservatives, they may be associates of yours: 

June 18, 2013
Glendon Scott Crawford, 49, and Eric J. Feight, 54, are arrested in upstate New York after a yearlong investigation and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists for use of a weapon of mass destruction. Crawford is a member of the United Northern and Southern Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and an industrial mechanic with General Electric; Feight is an outside contractor for GE with engineering skills. Officials say the two men, who call themselves “The Guild,” are well along the way toward building a truck-borne radiation weapon could be turned on remotely and that they hoped to use in the mass murder of Muslims and others. Crawford, who was said to be angry at President Obama, allegedly referred to the device as “Hiroshima on a light switch.” The men are arrested after unsuccessfully  seeking funding from Jewish groups and the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In January 2014, Crawford is indicted for conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction and related charges, while his alleged accomplice is reportedly in talks about a plea agreement that would involve testifying against Crawford.

Aug. 18, 2013
David Allen Brutsche, 42, and a woman described as Brutsche’s roommate, Devon Campbell Newman, 67, are arrested in Las Vegas after a months-long investigation into an alleged plot to kidnap and execute police officers. Both Brutsche, a convicted felon and registered sex offender, and Newman consider themselves “sovereign citizens” and have conducted recruiting seminars on sovereign ideology, officials say. Authorities say they intended to kidnap a police officer at random, detain the officer in a crude jail in a vacant house, “try” the officer in a “common-law” court, then execute the officer. The two are charged with felony conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and attempted kidnapping. Newman pleads guilty in December 2013 to conspiracy to commit false imprisonment, a misdemeanor, and is sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to have no contact with Brutsche. Brutsche, who renounces sovereign citizen ideology during court proceedings, pleads guilty in February 2014 to conspiracy to kidnap police officers and receives five years’ probation. In a separate case involving failure to register as a sex offender, he receives 188 days in jail in addition to time served.

March 27, 2014
Robert James Talbot Jr., 38, is arrested in Katy, Texas, by FBI agents who say he was about to rob an armored car. He is alleged to have been plotting to use C-4 explosives and weapons to rob banks and armored cars, blow up government buildings and mosques, and kill police officers. Prosecutors say he is behind a Facebook page called “American Insurgent Movement,” on which he posted antigovernment screeds, called for violence against public officials, and ranted about Muslims and LGBT people. He used the page to attempt to persuade others to join his cause. Talbot faces federal charges of attempted interference with commerce by robbery, solicitation to commit a crime of violence and possession of an explosive material. The FBI opened an investigation into his activities in August 2013 after learning of his alleged desire to recruit others into terrorist activities.

April 13, 2014
Frazier Glenn Miller (aka Frazier Glenn Cross), 73, a longtime racist and anti-Semite, is arrested after a gunman opens fire at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement community in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. Three people are killed, including a 14-year-old Eagle Scout and his grandfather. Miller, a retired Army veteran and Green Beret, is the founder and former leader of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the White Patriot Party, which he ran as paramilitary organizations in the 1980s. He was successfully sued by the SPLC for operating an illegal paramilitary organization and for using intimidation tactics against African Americans. Miller went underground in 1987 after he violated the court settlement and was convicted on criminal contempt charges. He was caught and served three years in federal prison on weapons charges in connection with plans to commit robberies and assassinate SPLC founder Morris Dees. As part of a plea deal, he testified against other Klan members in a 1988 sedition trial.

muhutdafuga topcommenter

@stanley1 Thank you for being such a fine example of Republican Mental Illness. While you live in a fact free, feeling based universe, as a good American,I rely on facts, because FACTS ARE LIBERAL.


@muhutdafuga @fishingblues @stanley1

Typical dipshit lib....delusional about his own intelligence, sycophantic repetition of talking points, copy and pasting links and articles in lieu of being able to form and express an opinion himself....which makes perfect sense. After all, leftist shills like you are nothing more than statist ass-kissing, sycophantic zombies marching in line. Glad you had fun with your copy and pasting from the Kos, fucking moron.

muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @stanley1  The fantasies and delusions you exhibit in your little fact freem cult addled universe suggest "conservative mental illness.  Consider:

In his award-winning 2005 book, Dr. James Whitney Hicks discusses 50 signs of mental illness including denial, delusion, hallucination, disordered thinking, anger, anti-social behavior, sexual preoccupation, grandiosity, general oddness, and paranoia. It seems that prominent Republicans have evidenced each of these ten telltale signs of mental illness over the past year:

See All Stories In What's Your Political Persuasion?

Liberals and conservatives do see the world differently

1) Denial: humans did not evolve;  Obama is not a native-born American Christian

2) Delusion: climate is not changing

3) Hallucination: God ordained me to be President

4) Disordered Thinking: being for small government that's huge in the bedroom;  being anti-contraception and anti-abortion

5) Anger: Newt Gingrich’s perpetual scowl

6) Anti-social Behaviortoward women, gays, minorities, anyone without an umbilical cord or trust fund

7) Sexual Preoccupation: a fervent compulsion to control when we can mate, with whom we can mate, and precisely how we are allowed to mate (which I lampoon in Why Do Politicians Want to Police Dick and Jane's Private Parts?)

8) Grandiosity: even Rick Santorum recognizes Gingrich’s “over the moon” grandiosity

9) General Oddness: Ron Paul

10) Paranoiapretty much all of them, all of the time

Even (the not necessarily dumb) Pope Francis appears to recognize that “it is a serious illness, this of ideological [conservative] Christians. It is an illness, but it is not new, eh?” 

Regrettably, the Republican who least exhibits anti-science stances is the only one who (tongue-in-cheek) acknowledges his mental illness:

Until Jon Huntsman becomes the sane voice of his insane party, maybe "Republican Syndrome" should be added to the DSM-V so that crazy conservative pols can receive the mental health treatment they need. I bet "Obamacare" would even cover it. 

fishingblues topcommenter


The mutt remains ---


She hit the trifecta --- fat, ugly, stupid!

muhutdafuga topcommenter

@stanley1 Yes, a typical Lib...much more intelligent than you, small minded little gnat.  Here are some more facts for you....remember, while cult addled feelings are conservative, FACTS ARE LIBERAL:

When Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano released a report in April 2009 identifying right-wing extremists as a threat to the country, conservatives howled. The general sentiment was expressed by Michelle Malkin, who declared the report a “piece of crap … propaganda … an Obama hit job.” Jonah Goldberg complained that the DHS report failed to stick “to the practice of describing these groups with more specificity and without the catchall, ideologically loaded descriptors.” Well, now that we have learned the murderer of six people at a Wisconsin Sikh temple was a well-known white supremacist, conservatives might want to consider reexamining their claims that terrorists don’t exist on the right side of the political spectrum.

Conservatives might be shocked that someone else besides a Muslim can commit an act of terrorism, but white supremacists and neo-Nazis have been recognized as genuine threats for years. FBI documents declassified in July reveal that the bureau has been worried about right-wing extremists for a long time — so many years, in fact, that many seem to have forgotten that white supremacists, who pioneered homegrown terrorism with the Ku Klux Klan, have not gone away.

The documents, which were collected by the invaluable National Security Archive and obtained partly through Freedom of Information Act requests, shed light on the problems coming from the extreme right. According to a 2004 FBI report, “right-wing terrorists pose a significant threat due to their propensity for violence” (note the FBI’s use of the term “right-wing” to define these terrorists, the phrase that so enraged conservatives when Napolitano employed it). These groups increased their recruitment efforts and rhetoric after 9/11, according to the report. White supremacists groups relied on broader anti-immigrant sentiment throughout the country to advance their efforts.


Perhaps more disturbingly, neo-Nazis were trying to infiltrate law enforcement agencies, according to a 2006 FBI report devoted to the subject. “White supremacist presence among law enforcement personnel is a concern due to the access they may possess to restricted areas vulnerable to sabotage and to elected officials or protected persons, whom they could see as potential targets for violence,” it reads. One idea far-right terrorists proposed was to walk into police stations and offer information, in order to determine an agency’s interest in any given organization.

Neo-Nazis were also pioneering a strategy they called “ghost skins,” which are attempts by right-wing extremists to keep quiet about their hateful views so as to blend into society and covertly advance their causes. “One white supremacist group has reportedly encouraged ghost skins to seek positions in law enforcement for the capability of alerting skinhead crews of pending investigative action against them,” says the report.

Another report released the same month revealed more about what it calls this “fascist path of stealth.” A ghost skin deliberately avoids shaving his head, wearing boots or braces, or anything that identifies his Nazi origins. “We strive to blend into society to be unrecognizable to the Jewish enemy,” one white-supremacist website is helpfully quoted as explaining. Prospective ghost skins are encouraged to join the military and receive training that can be passed on to other Nazis.

With chilling prescience, a 2007 report argued that the threat posed from white supremacists came less from organized groups than from “individuals acting alone upon the messages of hate espoused by these groups.” According to Jeffrey T. Richelson, a senior fellow at the NSA, who edited the document collection, “From what we know about this Wisconsin shooter, this potentially fits exactly into the documents analyses.” The shooting was not very different from what was generally predicted in the FBI materials, says Richelson.

Still, despite the primary threat coming from “lone wolf” terrorists, white supremacists have evinced interest in broader campaigns of suicide terrorism, according to the FBI. “These provide the movement with an ideal of self-sacrifice and a context for individuals to put themselves into fatal situations on behalf of its causes.” Terrorist acts could unify the movement and inspire others to carry out similar acts.

Finally, a September 2007 FBI threat assessment argued that “in terms of their distribution across the United States, white supremacists are the most pervasive because the issues driving them exist throughout the country.” They maintained a ready capability to commit acts of terrorism and violence due simply to their sheer numbers. White supremacists, the FBI held, tend to commit random acts of violence against minorities rather than premeditated targets — as may be the case with the murderer at the Sikh temple.

The FBI has said that the Wisconsin shooter likely had ties to right-wing white supremacist groups. It would not be the first time the bureau has warned of the threats coming from the far right, as these declassified documents prove. And now will not be the first time conservatives deny the terrorists and extremists lying in their midst.

By the way, stalin and his ilk are authoritarian dictators, by definition cultservaturd.


@muhutdafuga @fishingblues @stanley1 Ah....typical lib, no comeback for the 5 worst mass murderers, eh? Yeah, must be some "conspiracy". You're a fucking tool and a Dem...the party of the KKK, Jim Crow, segregation, and Robert Byrd. The majority of violent crimes in this country occur in overwhelmingly pro-Dem/leftist communities. It would take days to list all of the leftist fucking murderous idiots, but let's start with the big ones: Stalin, Pol Pot, Lenin, Mao.....

Go fuck yourself, you uneducated, traiterous piece of shit.

muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafuga @stanley1 All the guys on that radical right wing lie cite are republicans that are still in the closet, Timmy McJunior.

By the way, Hairless McJunior, you or your fellow radical right wing terrorists probably wouldn't use a firearm to sabotage a pipeline.

Q:  What do you call a middle eastern conservative?

A:  Al Qaeda

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