Should the DOE Allow Natural-Gas Exploration at a Former Nuclear Site?

July 17 2009, 10:10 AM

Marion Wells, who lives about 10 miles from the 1969 Project Rulison site, where a 43-kiloton nuclear bomb was detonated underground in an effort to release commercial gas, told U.S. Department of Energy officials at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission meeting earlier this week, "I don't like being your guinea pig." That's according to The Colorado Independent, which reports that the commission and the U.S. Department of Energy are considering plans to allow natural-gas exploration near the site despite the failed project, which produced natural gas that was too radioactive to be safe for consumers. Wells isn't the only one who's concerned. So are several Garfield County officials. Tresi Houpt, a Garfield County commissioner and oil-and-gas commissioner, wants to know whether federal officials will ever determine a final action for the site "and recognize that this actually is [their] project" (via the Grand Junction Sentinel).

Meanwhile, Timothy Wirth, a former Colorado Democratic senator and Under Secretary of State for global affairs in the Clinton administration, praised natural gas as a way to prevent climate change. "The time has come for the natural gas industry to get organized, take the gloves off, and get thoroughly engaged in helping our country advance rapidly toward a low-carbon economy," Wirth says (via ProPublica).