I couldn’t help but laugh at the insights reported after the fracking accident near Windsor that released greenish fracking fluid for 30 hours on what looked like agricultural land. To the Loveland firefighters, the lessons learned had to do with the speed and accuracy of reporting such spills, compounded by the fact that nobody knew whose wells were spilling. Not mentioned are the even more important lessons that could have been learned:
1) The released fracking fluid is toxic (Halliburton’s safer CleanStim fluid imbibed by our governor is expensive and rarely used). No telling what the effects of this release will be on the adjacent land. What if this spill had occurred next to a home, school or park?
2) Accidents and spills are exactly the problems citizens are worried about.
3) Regulations (or city rules) do not make fracking safe.
4) Fracking poses dangers to workers, including local firefighters and hospital staff.
5) Local communities have to cover the costs of training for emergencies and for clean-up.
6) No one knows the long-term effects of fracking because the high-pressure systems now in use are relatively new.
Loveland Fire Chief Randy Mirowki is reported as concluding, “The more we work together with these companies, from an emergency response side, the better off we are.” I would come to a different conclusion: The more we resist the lure of so-called economic benefits and statewide pressure to extract oil and gas by hydraulic fracturing, the better off we will be.
Thank heavens Longmont residents had the foresight to vote to ban fracking within our city limits!