Northeast Colorado is in the midst of an oil boom. Unlike North Dakota, a substantial infrastructure is already in place. Also, unlike North Dakota, the area is well populated. A decent article about the energy development is here.
What isn’t discussed are some of the political implications. While the gun control uproar has been the most prominent reported part of the 51st State effort, the core issue is, as always, money. The tax revenues are being grabbed by the dense population area representatives, and spent in the urban areas. The location of the revenue sources, rural areas, gets the problems, and not the benefits. Add a renewable energy mandate, that is not economically feasible, rammed down the rural area’s throats by the urban voters, and the anger grows.
One obvious danger of all this development isn’t being discussed. That is a possible contamination of the Ogallala Aquifer. Already being depleted faster than it is replenished, contamination would be a major economic disaster for a wide region. Look at the maps, please. See the overlap? The aquifer is relative shallow as is the drilling in the DJ basin, as shown here.
I’m in no way qualified to answer these questions, but as a resident of the area, I feel free to ask them. What I see on the surface is a lot of care by the petroleum industry to mitigate the impact of their operations. What is happening underground? We know contamination can happen. Natural gas has bubbled up in streams in the Silt, CO area (Garfield County).
As always, development brings risk. Questioning risk management and mitigation is appropriate.