Fracking Topics

This page is about topics in fracking: resources to learn from, articles and statistics that explain the misconceptions and risks of fracking, and the oil and gas industry, with a focus on Colorado and Larimer County.

Myth: Fracking is a safe working environment.

Fact: Workers get killed on a regular basis on the job in fracking; the following video is a dramatization of a true story: Blowout in Oklahoma:

Blowout in Oklahoma, a fracking training video from Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, Oct 2019

This is a dramatization of a gas well blowout that happened on January 22, 2018, which killed all 5 workers who were in the drillers' cabin on the well at the time, burning them to death. Published by US Chemical and Safety Board, an impartial technical trade group focused on safety in the workplace, and using state of the art animation software to replicate each step of what went wrong that day, it sends a powerful, educational message of how dangerous this industry is -- and how lacking the technology is at protecting worker safety.

One of those killed was from Wellington, Colorado:

Myth: Oil and gas provides a significant number of jobs in Colorado.

Fact: Oil and gas employs less than 1% of total employment in the state.

The above graph is from Headwaters Economics, an economic consulting firm in Bozeman, Montana, and used with their permission. The chart is based on 2017 Census data for Colorado.

Data Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce. 2018. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Accounts, Washington, D.C., reported by Headwaters Economics’ Economic Profile System,

Used with permission.

Myth: Fracking is safe and does not damage the environment or people

Fact: Fracking has inflicted huge environmental damage and lasting health costs on many, which will last for years to come

Modern hydraulic fracturing was never evaluated for its safety because it was purposefully shielded from regulation by the infamous "Halliburton Loophole" (see more information on that below). Consequently, the environmental and health costs of fracking are incalculable, and can only be guessed at; but the costs are real and significant, and should be weighed in the balance against the financial rewards that flow to the mineral rights owners and operating companies. For just one article that weighs in on this issue, see this recent article by Phil Doe, a former environmental compliance officer and head of the Reclamation Law Administration for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation:

"The bad news about SB 181", Boulder Weekly, Aug 29, 2019

Myth: Fracking was an innovative industry that was a natural extension of the oil and gas industry

Fact: Hydraulic fracturing was deceitfully shielded from federal environmental regulation from the outset and has been largely self-regulated at the state level because of a little known piece of federal legislation in 2005, which came to be known as "The Halliburton Loophole"

A full report on how the "Halliburton Loophole" was used to exempt fracking from regulation by the EPA is available in this report which was provided to the Larimer County County Commissioners on Sept 3, 2019: THE HALLIBURTON LOOPHOLE. The United States is the only country in the world to have such a law; the only laws that nations have passed with regard to fracking is to ban it. To see which countries, see the page Where Fracking Is Banned (under News).