Hydraulic fracturing operations in Western Colorado are having “little to no impact” on local wildlife, according to a new report by state regulators.
An eight-year study by Colorado Parks & Wildlife researcher Dr. Chuck Anderson found that fracking did not impact the survival or reproduction rates of the local mule deer population, but could potentially have minor impacts on their behavior. The same study found that the industry had significantly reduced its impact on the deer in recent years.
The new findings completely debunks claims by anti-fracking activists who have said for years that fracking negatively impacts western Colorado’s wildlife.
Environmentalists had used claims of harm to wildlife in their attempt to get an initiative that would have banned fracking across 90 percent of Colorado on the ballot in November, but failed to get the necessary signatures. If it had been enacted, the initiative would cost $14.5 billion in lost economic output and 104,000 jobs, according to a study by economists at the University of Colorado.
Energy is a huge portion of Colorado’s economy and fracking has caused an economic boom in Colorado. The oil and gas industry added $29.6 billion to Colorado’s economy in 2012, or about 10 percent of all annual economic activity in the state. The industries also supported 111,500 jobs, allowing the state to recover from the Great Recession faster than its neighbors.
The fracking industry in Colorado is expected to expand, too. U.S. Geological Survey officials said in June that parts of western Colorado have upwards of 40 times more natural gas than previously believed, making the state the second largest natural gas-producing formation in the America.
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