One Last Shot…

U.S. National Archives’ Local Identifier: 412-DA-3630

Oil Seepage in Pond (Foreground), Olin-Mathieson Plant in Background 1972

For the life of me I do not understand why 100% of city council would not be in favor of extending the current fracking moratorium an additional 6 months. Instead, at next Tuesday’s meeting we’re looking at yet another 4-3 or possibly 5-2 vote to leave things alone. Come June 17, city staff will begin final negotiations with the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Staff will be hoping to gain a few concessions and in return will issue permits to drill without lengthy or critical review.

Please understand- COGCC is the servant of the Colorado Oil and Gas industry. The word “Conservation” in their title is an insult to anyone truly concerned with the environment and conservation at any level. Read this and ponder: Of 516 oil and gas spills reported in 2011, only 5 fines were levied. The benzine spill at Trail Ridge Middle School was first reported in 2006 and is still a festering stink, all brought to you by TOP, the folks that are working for drilling permits around Union Reservoir.

TOP has had at least 10 “NOI’s” (Notice of Intent) from COGCC which I understand have been essentially ignored. This is not the kind of “Good corporate citizen” I would want in my community. I’m not sure if the benzine problem has – 6 years later- been fully resolved.

So why an additional 6 months moratorium? Because communities from New York to Pennsylvania and into Colorado are fighting like hell to defend and preserve their air, water, vistas and infrastructure- otherwise known as “Quality Of Life”. Almost daily, new legislation, new strategies and new alliances are being formed to fight for these rights, and they are exactly that – human and community rights. New York has banned fracking state-wide. Some cities are challenging big oil and gas in court to establish their right to ban fracking on municipal property. Take a peek at the Colorado Constitution article XX which informs us that the rights of Home Rule municipalities such as Longmont take precedent over the state and its agencies.

Stuff is happening at almost every level of government in all states facing the threat of fracking, and this city council should stand up and start fighting instead of caving in to threats of legal action. I wish this mess had opened up last October when we the citizens had an opportunity to examine the issues and the candidate’s responses. I suspect there would be a different tune played today- and likely from a different band. But wishful thinking will get us nowhere- if it did we’d all be Lottery rich.

Instead, please take a stand. Sign this petition: http://longmontroar.org/email-city-council/ then write directly to your council rep, pass this along to your neighbors and Facebook pals- and if you have the time, turn up at next Tuesday’s council meeting.

Remember the 1976 movie “Network”? “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”. An apt slogan for our city and our times.

  2 comments for “One Last Shot…

  1. Gregory Iwan
    March 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Benzene is a known carcinogen, and it’s very durable in the environment. That hydrocarbon “ring” (C6H6) making up the Benzene molecule is one reason so much energy must be expended in refining crude oil into solvents and other goodies beyond (that is, higher up the “cracking tower”) gasoline. The next time you clean up a grease spill using naphtha or similar, brethe deeply. It’s not very different from Benzene.

    As for New York, that state is about to let the camel back into the tent — at least somewhat past the nose. Their moratorium is to be lifted, with multiple conditions. Trouble is, too much of what happens IN the ground is beyond the control of the state, the local government, even the drillers. So let’s pass a zoning ordinance against tornadoes here! About as effective, but not quite for the reasons one may usually think.

  2. FRED BATES
    March 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Your council must not read the newspapers. Or have you not heard of the GAS (not oil, like Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico) well in the Elgin Field (North Sea), run by Total, one of the largest oil “majors?” There is a scramble on, because a large wet chunk of real estate has found it necessary to evacuate, meaning other rigs, etc. Water navigation disrupted, etc. Why? Critical danger of EXPLOSION, that’s why. I knew a couple back in the day who came home to a dark house and lit a MATCH. Boom. Both disfigured, one in a wheelchair for life. If a vertically integrated, technologically savvy, heavily capitalized oil operator can’t assure safety in this game, what makes anyone around “Bakken West” here in Colorado, that these dime-a-minute drillers and their associates can make local schools and open space worth using again? Maybe there is an answer, and it may not fall within the state’s assumed “authority” — you issue land-use or other permits on one principal condition, and I really wonder if it would not hold up: you the oil operator must BUY every real estate improvement within three MILES of your hole. Your drill hole, that is. Go ahead; make my day.

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