Archives for posts with tag: Colorado

From the Colorado Independent:

At least 22 toxic chemicals, including four known human carcinogens, were found in nine separate air samples taken near natural gas drilling operations by community advocacy and environmental groups in Garfield and La Plata counties in Colorado and the San Juan Basin of New Mexico, according to a new report from Global Community Monitor.

Entitled “GASSED! Citizen Investigation of Natural Gas Development (pdf),” the report details how the air samples, taken near homes, playgrounds, schools and community centers, were analyzed by a certified lab.

“Carcinogenic chemicals like benzene and acrylonitrile should not be in the air we breathe – and certainly not at these highly alarming levels,” said Dr. Mark Chernaik. “These results suggest neighboring communities are not being protected and their long-term health is being put at risk.”

As part of the air-quality study, neighbors of natural gas drilling operations were asked to record various chemical odors, sample the air quality and appeal to various regulators to investigate complaints.

“My husband, pets, and I have experienced respiratory and other health-related problems during the 12 years we have lived on Cow Canyon Road in La Plata County, Colo.,” Jeri Montgomery said of nearby natural gas development. “We believe these health issues are related to the air quality in our neighborhood and in the area.”

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From Denver Post:

As mountain snow starts to melt, trickling toxic acid laced with dissolved metals — arsenic, cadmium, copper, zinc — is fouling Colorado watersheds.

Nobody dares try to stop it.

Among the casualties: Peru Creek east of the Keystone ski area has been pronounced “biologically dead.”

State environmental officials also have listed 32 sites along the Animas River in critical condition. Some headwaters of the Arkansas River, too, are “virtually devoid of any aquatic life.”

The source of the contamination is abandoned mines — about 500,000 across the West, at least 7,300 in Colorado. Federal authorities estimate that the headwaters of 40 percent of Western rivers are tainted with toxic discharge from abandoned mines.

Colorado Department of Natural Resources records show 450 abandoned mines are known to be leaking measurable toxins into watersheds. So far, 1,300 miles of streams have been impaired.

But as bad as the damage is, community watershed groups, mining companies and even state agencies contend they cannot embark on cleanups for fear of incurring legal liability.

Under the Clean Water Act, parties who get involved at abandoned mines and accidentally make matters worse — even over the short term — could be vulnerable to federal prosecution for polluting waterways without a permit.

Obama administration officials two years ago promised to break gridlock on this issue, spurring a legislative fix to enable “good Samaritan” cleanups and devoting “significant resources” for watershed restoration.

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