Editor’s Note: The following address was given before the COGCC’s hearing on oil and gas setbacks. The public was limited to only two-minute presentations. The Oil and Gas Industry tried to prevent that, also.
Dr. Theo Colborn recently published her second peer reviewed study of Natural Gas Operations. Weekly air samples for over a year were taken 0.7 mile (that’s 3,696 feet) from a well pad in Garfield County. More than 50 airborne chemicals (some present in all samples) were detected – most known to have multiple health effects on humans when present in as little as parts per billion – 30 of those are known endocrine disruptors that particularly and profoundly affect children ….here is a copy for you.
I am here on behalf of 25,000 voting citizens of Longmont, who by their action on November 6th unequivocally told you the following:
- You have a mandate to oversee exploration and production of oil and gas in a manner consistent with the protection of public health and safety
- By your own admission neither the current nor proposed setbacks consider human health impacts — and you have not conducted or proposed a single such study
- Yet – Article 2, Section 3 of the Colorado Constitution guarantees all citizens “safety” as an inalienable right
- Therefore, until appropriate, objective, and adequate health impact studies are performed – no discussion of setbacks is valid or responsible…
- Without such studies – tinkering with setbacks here amounts to little more than a distraction from the real issue of health and appears a cynical attempt to dupe and sedate the public into believing that you have their best interest at heart.
- Until you give equal attention to the people’s health as you are mandated it will be necessary for we, the people, to take safety concerns into our own hands and protect ourselves as did Longmont….and as many more cities will surely do.
Until more study can be done, short of a moratorium, I suggest a starting point for setbacks at something more than the 3,696 feet that Dr. Colborn’s study shows to be serious health hazard.
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.