At packed public forum, Chesapeake says Converse County is core drilling territory

Dec 5, 2012

Chesapeake Energy told a crowd of nearly 200 people that Converse County will continue to be a hot spot for oil production.  The discussion was part of a public meeting last night in Douglas.

Chesapeake did not say how much oil production will actually occur in the area, but company officials and state regulators tried to allay concerns about the risks associated with flaring and fracking.

Chesapeake’s Sandy Andrew said the ingredients in frack fluid are largely benign.

“Most of them, actually all of them, aren’t any worse than what you’ve got under your kitchen sink,” Andrew said.

But residents like Janice Switzer didn’t buy the reassurances. 

“Formaldehyde is not under my sink,” Switzer said. “Boric acid is not under my sink.”

Several residents said they worry about health problems, water contamination, and air pollution associated with the new spate of wells, which are situated next to a residential area.

Other residents say they don’t have many concrete concerns, but some, like Erin McPherson, said Chesapeake should have shared its plans with the community before now.

“I’m not opposed to what’s happening out there, but it isn’t what we signed up for when we bought our piece of property out there,” McPherson said. “It’s one thing to move into that area and know that the wells are there; it’s another thing for them just to pop up and feel like nobody had really told you anything.”