Fred Gabriel

Best intentions cross the line

Directional drilling can be used to reach targets that can not be drilled with a vertical well. For example: it may not be possible to get a drilling permit for a well located within a populated area or within a park. However, a well could be drilled just out side of the populated area or park and then steered directionally to hit the target.

This poor old town. She’ll never be a modern city; there will always be too many old rural agricultural roots that won’t let her move completely into 21st century suburbia — and that’s the best thing about her.

The problem is, now she’s torn in half. She used to reside on top of a few old oil wells. Now she’s on top of a “gold mine” of new energy resources, and as the song says, “Everybody wants her.”

And this is where it all gets ridiculously insane.

So let’s keep it simple. Stay with me. First, the technology of this high-volume, long-lateral, high-pressure, slick water fracking wasn’t even invented until the late 1990s. In practice, it’s only a few years old. Simply put, you can drill outside of town, go down and laterally drill over into whatever mineral reserves you want to. It’s not that big of a town; you can hit any mineral reserves from outside of town!

Why all the fuss?

Oops. I just shot down the major argument of the four horsemen of the council-ocalypse who stated that we’d lose millions if we didn’t do enough political hoop jumping over mineral rights.

The problem for big oil is when they laterally drill through mineral rights zone, they have to pay to enter into the different zones. The council isn’t trying to save you the people money; they’re trying to save big oil money. Getting a little irked yet? It’s all right there at geology.com, including a picture of a well outside of a town, drilling underneath it

There are more than 18,000 wells over in Weld County. The well density map makes you wonder where they find room for any people over there. Does anyone think that the geologic oil line magically ends at the city line or the county line ? This is a breach of a longstanding political line. Thieves are tiptoeing into your house, and there’s no such thing as “just a few wells” when you live on top of an oilfield. And people do not move to the near Front Range to live in a town full of oil wells.

Wherever the injection disposal well winds up that is going to hold hundreds of millions of gallons of drilling waste, it won’t be serviced by just a handful of tankers. You have to grasp the sheer magnitude of what goes on around oil wells. Things move 24 hours a day, with trucks, dirt, dust, fumes, gases, noise, lights, spills and traffic.

Sixty percent of you saw through the blatant corporate manipulation of the 2A Telecom issue. Sixty percent of you got it right — the second time. You won’t have two chances to get it right on Ballot Measure 300. It’s now or never.

Energy is like a drug and the entire world’s an addict. We all need it. I get it. The pursuit of it is a juggernaut and it’s heading our way, because we haven’t come up with any alternatives but to do the same thing over and over until it all runs out.

And now, in this frenzied attempt to capitalize on the local resources that Longmont sits upon, we’re going to risk ruining our town by allowing the desecration of our air, water, property values and the health of our local residents because our well-being will always be the last priority when stacked up against big profits.

Even the best of intentions can cross the line and go too far. That line is here; that line is now. Vote “yes” on 300.

Fred Gabriel is a Longmont resident.