Hydraulic Fracturing for Natural Gas Production: Economic Miracle or Environmental Disaster?

  • 01 Nov 2011
  • 11:45 AM - 1:30 PM
  • Brown Palace 321 17th St - Log in for member pricing

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Energy companies use hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to unlock vast reserves of domestic natural gas from shales and tight sands. This is creating one of the largest energy booms that this country and Colorado has seen, with natural gas now economically more attractive than any other fuel for a wide range of uses including heating, power generation, and transportation.

However there is an environmental price: impacts to groundwater, gas escaping to the surface, and surface disturbance. A heated debate is currently underway about the extent to which this technology should be allowed, particularly in urban, wilderness, wild and scenic, and other sensitive locations.

This program presents the facts about hydraulic fracturing, and informs members on this key energy, economic and environmental question. We start with a video on hydraulic fracturing. We will then hear from three experts:

•    Roger Meyers, a Petroleum Engineer from Atlas Energy, a Colorado gas producer, to present the technical aspects of hydraulic fracturing, and to present the economic benefits that derive from it.

•    Charlie Montgomery, a conservationist from the Colorado Environmental Coalition, who will present the view of the conservation community, which considers the multiple stages of fracking, pre and post-injection, and the full range of risks and burdens associated impacts to water, air, and property.

•    David Neslin, Director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, the head regulator of gas production in Colorado, who will provide a balanced view of the track record of hydraulic fracturing in Colorado, both its economic benefits and its impacts, and will present the regulatory controls that are in place to prevent environmental damage.

We will conclude with a Q&A session involving all of our panelists, to explore member issues and allow everybody to reach an informed conclusion about this politically and literally explosive topic.

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