Concern over water is as old as the West itself. Now, with oil and gas companies like Energy Corp. of America drilling wells in Stillwater and Carbon counties, the potential for water contamination in our communities should not be ignored.
Real threats to our water from oil and gas development exist even without considering deep aquifer contamination. The oil and gas industry claims cement lining a well past the depth of groundwater prevents the chemicals in fracturing fluid and oil from contaminating the surrounding surface groundwater.
What the industry fails to mention is how frequently these “well casings” fail. Cracks in a well’s cement lining can happen right away, or after the well has been operating a while. By looking at one’s own driveway it’s easy to see how readily cement cracks. Yet, the oil and gas industry would have us ignore our eyes and simply trust them that cement in wells won’t crack and won’t allow chemicals to leak into our groundwater. The destruction of communities like Butte should remind us that corporations seeking profit at the expense of communities should not simply be trusted to protect water.
The importance of protecting our groundwater from contamination is clear: without clean, available water, our communities would not survive. Oil and gas development, and the process of hydraulic fracturing, threaten our water. To protect our rural way of life, we cannot allow oil and gas companies to contaminate one of our most precious resources. Also threatening is the amount of water development consumes!