Tag Archive for drilling moratorium

Coloradans are talking….

Washington, can you hear us now?

The following letter was delivered to the Washington, D.C. offices of Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. The voices in the groups who signed the letter are strong and determined. It is hoped that our senators, as well as all other elected officials, will recognize that the issues raised in this letter are signature issues of our time and that elected representatives of any and all offices as well as political parties will be held accountable by the people.

As the oil and gas industry moves full speed ahead with the fracking boom, residents across the state are organizing to protect their health, environment, property values, way of life and communities form the impacts of oil and natural gas extraction, including fracking. Two Colorado mothers, Jodee Brekke of Denver and Diana Caile of Boulder, traveled to Washington, D.C. to join a nationwide coalition of citizens, communities and organizations for the Stop the Frack Attack events, beginning with Lobby Day on Wednesday, July 25, and culminating in a mass rally and march, with a crowd of 5000, on Saturday, July 28. Ms. Brekke and Ms. Caile met with staff at Senator Udall’s and Senator Bennet’s offices to deliver a letter imploring the senators to discontinue their rhetoric about the benefits of oil and natural gas extraction and to move for a national moratorium on fracking. The letter was signed by 262 Coloradans, as well as 17 grassroots groups and nonprofits from throughout the state, representing thousands more. Additionally, approximately 1500 people from throughout the country and even globally signed on to the letter in solidarity.

To:  Senators Udall and Bennet

From: The following Grassroots Groups

Earth Guardians
Erie Rising
East Boulder County United
Boulder County Citizens for Community Rights
Commerce City United
Food and Water Watch
GrassRoots Energy activist Network (GREEN)
Commerce City Unite N.O.W.
Adams County Unite N.O.W.
Be the Change
Protect Colorado Water
350 Colorado
Green Valley Ranch Fracking Resistance Group
Denver Community Rights
Lakewood Fracktivists
Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont
What the Frack?! Arapahoe

 

Colorado is under assault from the oil and gas industry. As the industry moves full speed ahead with the fracking boom, residents across the state are organizing to protect their property values, way of life, health, environment, communities, and future generations from the impacts of oil and natural gas extraction.

The heavy industrial, toxic process of oil and natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing:

  • uses millions of gallons of water per frack, turning our water into toxic waste that must be removed from the hydrologic cycle.
  • is creating a potential environmental and human health catastrophe by pumping toxic wastewater into injection wells.
  • contaminates surface/ground water and soil, spews toxins into our air, and despoils our landscape.
  • threatens the economic benefit we receive from tourism and our healthy, outdoor lifestyle branding.
  • is harmful to our health.
  • releases high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • disrupts our communities with heavy semi-truck and tanker-truck traffic (some of which carry radioactive material), noise, lights, and industrial level diesel exhaust.
  • externalizes millions of dollars in damage to our infrastructure.
  • brings with it increased crime and pressure on the housing market from transient worker populations.
  • reduces property values.
  • threatens the real estate market as lenders are increasingly unwilling to extend mortgages or refinance properties near wells, and as residents choose to leave by short selling or having their properties foreclosed on.
  • is a boom and bust activity that leaves communities devastated.

Natural gas has received a lot of attention as a bridge fuel. Natural gas is not a bridge to renewable energy, but just another dirty fossil fuel. In fact, the turn to natural gas is hurting investments in renewables. The only way we’re going to get to a healthy, sustainable energy future is by investing in healthy, sustainable energy. Promoting unconventional natural gas extraction is turning your back on renewable energy, on your constituents who shoulder the externalized costs, and on future generations.

The oil and gas industry is being propped up by taxpayer money in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, exemptions from environmental protection laws and externalized costs shouldered by the people of Colorado and those in communities threatened by this industry across the country. We expect you to fight for the health, safety and welfare of your constituents over corporate profits.

In light of new information coming out almost daily about the above mentioned impacts of oil and natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing, and considering full-cost accounting, as well as the fact that the industry plans to export, we implore you to discontinue your rhetoric about the benefits oil and gas extraction confers and move for a nationwide moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing.

City council, restore needed regulations


Editor’s Note: The following is an Open Letter to the Longmont City Council. On May 8, 2012, Longmont’s oil and gas regulations will appear on the council’s agenda on First Reading (Consent Agenda). Several necessary regulations were removed from the Draft Regulations prepared earlier this year.

I would like to see the following provisions become part of the city’s regulation of fracking wells and other wells.

1) RESTORE THE PROVISION REQUIRING CLOSED PITS.
Open pits are a source of contamination, both through evaporation (airborne contaminants), and through undue exposure to animals and, potentially, children on nearby playgrounds. A CLOSED SYSTEM WOULD BE BEST.

2) INCORPORATE THE NEW EPA REGULATIONS ON METHANE CONTAMINATION. The EPA has just issued new regulations regarding methane leakage in fracked wells. The city should require that any wells drilled now should be in conformity to these new regulations, since the new wells will be operating when the EPA regulations go into effect.

3) DO NOT ALLOW THE OPERATION OF WELLS DURING A DROUGHT. The state already has a mechanism for declaring a state of drought, and it should be strictly observed.

4) MONITOR SMOG POLLUTION, INCLUDING ADVANCE TESTING TO ESTABLISH A BASELINE.
The city should require testing using the new technique just published by NOAA, which is able to differentiate sources of smog pollution. There should be a baseline test of Longmont’s air quality at the present time, before the moratorium is lifted, and future tests should be measured against it. I am especially concerned about the numerous medical studies published by a variety of sources–easily found with an Internet search–that show strong links between smog and an increase in asthma, stroke, and heart attacks. The recent study in Erie that commented on 10 minutes of exposure is ridiculous. If there are wells, there is going to be chronic exposure. The studies of the effects of chronic exposure to smog need a detailed review and the city needs to fund its own monitoring of smog.

Thank you for your attention to these matters. I look forward to seeing these important elements of regulation incorporated into the City of Longmont regulations.