colorado flooding rachel maddowCORRECTIONS to yesterday’s post from readers, and thanks for your comments:

  • Rocky Mountain northern front range rain (east of the continental divide) travels up the South Platte to the Platte to the Missouri to the Mississippi and finally to the Gulf of Mexico. Weld county, the hub of the DJ Basin, flood water would go east via the Platte. Given the droughts in western Nebraska, I’m not sure how far exactly the water will go and if it will ever make it. Any rain falling near Colorado Springs and south usually ends up in the Arkansas River and eventually the Gulf.
  •  Please note that the flood area does not in general drain into the Colorado River. All water on the west side of the Rockies do but please note this disaster happened on the Eastern Slope.
  • I checked yesterday, by the time the Colorado River gets down to Grand Junction, it’s slightly more brown than it usually is. It has already begun to clean itself. The rest of us will be fine, but we need to give our good thoughts and prayers to everyone else who was affected by this natural disaster.

According to the readers’ corrections, it looks like Arizona and Southern California have little to worry about.  What about the rest?


The photo below appeared on the Weld County Government FaceBook Page with the caption: CR388 tank, fortunately it’s shut off.

colorado weld countyFortunately it’s shut off…….ummmm were other tanks shut off?

On Wednesday, September 19, 2013 The Rachel Maddow Show took a look at Oil/Gas Facilities in Colorado. Click Here to Watch the Video

At approximately minute 1:44, a spokesperson for the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), an industry trade group rolled out the preliminary reassurances there is nothing to worry about.


Interviewer:  What was in those tanks? What is now in the waters that are flowing down stream?

COGA Spokesperson:  The tanks that we know of were empty. and the tanks that are askew may have things like small amounts of condensate, which is a flow back water.

Interviewer:  Is it possible that parts of that will be in the water down stream?

COGA Spokesperson:  We hope that our emergency response plans and the really heroic efforts of the oil and gas industry are preventing any releases from being affected, but we’re not going to know until the water recedes.



  The tanks that we know of were empty

Tanks we KNOW of were empty.   What about the tanks not known about?   Were the tanks filled prior to taking a trip down the flood waters?  Are the tanks ruptured and this is why they are empty now?

Tanks that are askew may have things like small amounts of condensate, which is a flow back water

Small amounts of condensate?  Please define “small”.    Did they contain larger amounts prior to becoming “askew”?  Are there ruptures which allowed condensate/flow back water to leak, and due the “askew” angle only “small” amounts remained?

And the spokesperson completely dodges the question “Is it possible that parts of that will be in the water down stream?”


Assuming more public focus and scrutiny on the issue of gas/oil pads and flooding emerges, the fossil fuel industry is most likely honing it’s spin.

My guesses for what the spin will contain are:

  • Responded quickly to the emergency and the situation has been contained
  • Working with state and federal agencies to cleanup the sites
  • It’s a 100-year event of epic proportions (translation-not our fault)
  • Limited / No environmental damage

This will be followed by front group and political distraction about how the flood waters also contain raw sewage and chemicals from people’s homes.  This will imply the contaminated water is not the fossil fuel industry’s fault, but rather homeowners are to blame for having things like bleach, Chapstick and Dove Soap in their homes.

The same things that were explained at the 2011 industry conference for communication executives, Media & Stakeholder Relations Hydraulic Fracturing Relations Initiative 2011

Brad Miller, General Manager of Regulatory Affairs, Anadarko Petroleum to attendees how to explain talk about fracking chemicals.

  • Tell them biocides are bleach:   Hydraulic fracturing – We talk about biocides. Wow, that’s a big word. That’s bleach. So we’ve got to start talking bleach. . . So we need to kind of bring what we put in there down to where people can understand.

  • Tell them polyacrylamides are ChapStick:   —polyacrylamides—Ah, people get really worried when you talk about putting polyacrylamide in frack that they’re gonna pump down a well. What is that? It’s chap stick – so take your stick of chap stick when somebody talks about polyacrylamides.  So we need to kind of bring what we put in there down to where people can understand.

  • Tell them surfactants are Dove Soap, Surfactants? It’s Dove Soap.

© 2013 by Dory Hippauf


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