Gaylord Entertainment dumped its plans for a giant hotel/convention center/resort in Aurora, and GE has postponed its big new plant in Aurora -- if not ditched it entirely. But at least Aurora had control over one business deal: It had no problem selling its water to an oil and gas company.
Despite recent rains, much of Colorado has been declared a drought disaster area, and parched Weld County farmers just to the north are begging for water. Still, last night the Aurora City Council voted to "lease" water to Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum Corp., which will use it for hydraulic fracturing...possibly the only practice less controversial than opening the city tap to give a hotel a $300 million subsidy, as Aurora was willing to do for Gaylord.
Anadarko will pay the city $9.5 million over five years to "lease" almost 2.5 billion gallons of water, 9News reports.
Critics are up in arms not just over the deal, but the possibility of fracking itself coming to Aurora. Writes Sonia Skakich-Scrima of What the Frack?! Arapahoe:
We hope that more Aurorans will take the time to learn more about the issues associated with oil development in Aurora, will visit our website to learn of our concerns, and will join us in demanding that our City Council and City Manager exercise their full rights and responsibilities, to protect the quality of life, property values, water, and health of our city, particularly the health of Aurora's children: www.frackingcolorado.wordpress.com. Given that the oil and gas industry has exemptions from 8 key federal regs. that would otherwise be protecting our health and safety (such as Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Community Right to Know Act, Toxics Act, CERCLA Superfund Act, etc) and our state regs. are hopelessly inadequate, it's is up to our local government to assert rules that mitigate preventable harm and uncompensated losses to residents.
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For more on fracking in Aurora, read "What the Frack?!: Grassroots group pushes for fracking moratorium in Arapahoe County."