2019 Spills Tracker
Feb 27, 2020
In 2019, oil and gas companies reported nearly 3,000 drilling-related spills in the Mountain West’s three top producing states. This report is the latest addition to the Center for Western Priorities’ ongoing tracking of oil and gas-related spills in the Mountain West. Colorado and New Mexico make spill information public and Wyoming provided the information by request. The Center for Western Priorities obtained 2019 data from each of these states and quantified what materials were spilled and which operators were responsible in order to better inform the public on drilling impacts.
In recent years, oil and gas production has soared around the West, impacting land, clean air and water, and local communities. Analysis by the Center for Western Priorities finds that oil and gas companies reported 2,811 spills in Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico in 2019, nearly eight per day. Across the three states, drillers reported spilling 23,600 barrels of oil and 170,223 barrels of produced water — salty wastewater often laced with toxic chemicals.
The number of reported spills has increased steadily in Wyoming and Colorado over the past few years, rising 31 percent in Wyoming since 2015, and 58 percent in Colorado since 2012. Companies in New Mexico reported 1,352 spills, by far the most of the three states. This represents an 11 percent decrease from the year prior.
Get state-specific data
Colorado and New Mexico publish geographic information on spills within the state. Check out an interactive map of spills in the two states: