Does Coalbed Methane Production affect Ground Water?

April 10, 2008

The National Academy of Sciences committee met in Denver yesterday to began a long overdue study "to review what’s known about the effects of coal-bed methane drilling on surface and groundwater and determine what needs to be studied further".

Originally the 2005 bill said that the study should be completed within one year but it took legal action from three enviromental groups to force compliance.

"The study would focus on coal-bed methane production in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and North Dakota. The report is supposed to analyze what companies are doing to minimize the impacts on water and recommend any changes."

"Montana state officials and landowners, though, worry that Wyoming’s coal-bed methane development is harming water quality and depleting streams and groundwater. The state of Wyoming and the energy industry are suing to overturn Montana’s water-quality standards aimed at preventing pollution from Wyoming’s natural gas production.

Richard Goodwin, who lives near Walsenburg in southern Colorado, said he and other homeowners who live in gas fields are concerned that development will lower groundwater levels and affect their water wells. He said some of water wells in his rural subdivision have dried up since production has picked up."

Read the entire news article

In Other News

 Shell oil company comes under fire in Canada about water issues too. Believing that "Shell’s operation will mirror the Powder River Basin, a controversial region in Wyoming where more than 7,000 wells, drilled by numerous different companies, are blamed for an environmental catastrophe."

Water was the primary issue “You must understand the questions [the people] are asking are all related. We are inextricably tied to our fresh water. If you can hear what the people are saying, it’s that this is the primary issue.”

Read the entire news article

Other Online Resources

Oil and Gas Accountability Project

San Juan Citizens Alliance

Colorado Oil and Gas Commission

Montana Government Enviromental and Water Issues

If you know of any other online resouces please let us know about them.


In the Southern Colorado area we have felt the many economic benefits from the Coalbed Methane industry in numerous ways, its hard to dismiss. The Coalbed Methane industry has provided many good paying jobs for local residents that we just didn’t have before. We have no major industry in this sparcely populated area of Southern Colorado so these jobs created are a godsend.

But the concern is that we ignore what is happening to our surface and ground water in the process of extracting the Coalbed Methane. Stay informed.

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