In 2005 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management offered up thousands of acres of federal land in Colorado to drilling. Because the land was in the heart of an area that supplies drinking water to 55,000 people in the western part of the state, the plan drew strong opposition from local communities.
The concerns they raised — that the disruption and chemicals used in drilling might ruin their water — foreshadowed similar concerns that have since rippled across the country as drilling operations expand from Wyoming to New York. And their solution may be a lesson that ripples to those communities as well.
The communities — the city of Grand Junction and the neighboring town of Palisades — began by making their concerns clear: drilling is important, but protecting the water supply is paramount.