My name is Chris Porzuczek.
I live on East County Line Rd. next to Union Reservoir. TOP Drilling Company has submitted a proposal to partner with The City of Longmont for approval to drill and frack 80-100 gas wells along the West and South side of Union Reservoir. The City of Longmont would like us to believe that TOP Drilling wants this. However, Longmont owns the surface and mineral rights for the Open Space between my house and Union Reservoir, where at least one drilling pad of 16 wells is proposed. At this site, TOP only owns the lease to drill IF the property owners want the drilling to be done. In this case, that is the City. The City is set to profit millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars from this one drill site. This goes against all of the Comprehensive Plans Longmont has in place. That means City wants to keep this as quiet as possible. The City has the votes from council-elect to put this through and they will. The ONLY way to stop this is if the Citizens of Longmont do not allow it to happen. Of course, the City will tell you there is nothing they can do but it is a lie. Let me give you some recent history. Longmont has, in the past, stopped drilling and fracking during the development of Sandstone Ranch and Ute Creek Golf Course. On the Ute Creek property, TOP owned the mineral rights. When TOP submitted proposals to drill, Longmont declared eminent domain and issued compensation for those mineral rights. The City was ordered to pay TOP less than half of what TOP had asked for compensation of those mineral rights. The City doesn’t even have to go through all those hoops to stop them this time, because they own the mineral and surface rights behind my property. The City composed the drilling maps and proposed to TOP where they want the drilling locations. In other words, they are going into business on open space property for the profit. The plans and maps came from our planning and zoning, knowing the majority of those currently serving our council have been accepting thousands of dollars from TOP during the last two elections. The pieces are in place to get this project rubber stamped through council. Combine this with a smokescreen of huge profits and there is nobody to stop them.
Personally, I purchased a property adjacent to Longmont Open Space and Union Reservoir in 2003. My wife and I planned on raising a family at this location for the next 20 years. I cannot in good conscience raise my family 350’ from 16 fracked gas wells, which also sit in the middle of a 3 square mile area with up to a 100 proposed wells. I WILL NOT wonder if my 14 month old baby is going to have cancer or other respiratory concerns 10 years from now. So, my family and business will be forced to move, with a property value that will probably be cut in half. That’s right The City of Longmont is set to gain millions by putting this well on Open Space, minimum distance required by law from my house. My loss of business will cost 5 local jobs, whose families live and go to school in Longmont. I am not here to say poor me. There are 9 other families that live here. They will be equally destroyed because they have to move for health reasons or cannot raise their livestock, and their properties are half the value. There are four small business owners among us as well. This will cost 15-20 local jobs lost as we relocate. Here’s the kicker. There is another consolidated pad of wells proposed adjacent to Trail Ridge middle school. Fracked gas wells next to the Trail Ridge middle school! There may have been an existing well before the school was built, but to allow a lease for more drilling and fracking next to a school. Are they nuts? I would not send my kids there knowing this. Would you? I believe they call this the cost of doing business. But, I don’t think Longmont’s cost of doing business should come at the expense of health, environment, local jobs, and property values.
Let’s touch base on those that are FOR fracking. The Oil & Gas industry, with it’s supporters, fear monger that this is the way to secure our homeland by not being dependent on foreign fuel. They will tell you they have rights, they need to feed their families, it‘s safe, and everyone‘s doing it along the Eastern plains of Colorado. So, it must be OK right? Wrong. The Oil & Gas industry has had accidents and has admitted that cancers, respiratory problems, water contamination, and tremors are all side effects of doing business in their industry. They have several ways to deflect the criticisms. They blame the companies that have cut corners. You know, just a few bad apples giving the industry a bad name. They’ll make sure you know they have to follow strict governmental guidelines. Yeah right! The absolute apex of the problem is the people that wrote the laws and guidelines have special interests to keep this Oil & Gas machine fueled. In most cases those in to he industry will just dismiss skeptics as uneducated alarmists. Newsflash! They have no idea of long term effects of Fracking either! Safe until proven harmful….The damages caused are just coincidental….Show me proof. This is the mentality of the industry. But, for me, there are too many SEVERE health and environmental effects, locally and nationwide, popping up next to these fracked wells, to put my family at risk. I am not waiting around to find out the long term effects on my kids growing up 350‘ from 16 fracked gas wells.
My neighbors and I recently met with three individuals representing TOP Drilling. Their rep, geologist, and president. Their 70 year old Geologist CHUCKLED at me, when I asked how this is going to affect us in 100 years. That’s correct, he CHUCKLED, as if it does not matter because he will not be around. He did not find it quite as funny when I rephrased the question, pointing at my son, asking him how it will affect my son when he is your age. They stated they cannot speculate what the long term effects would be. They cannot speculate, because they do not know. I can assure you, they will be doing just the minimum to keep their costs low, profits high. Fracking is new technology and not regulated as much as they want you to think. As of now, they do not need to disclose all chemicals used during the fracking procedure.
Given the severity of this issue, myself and neighbors spoke at the Open Forum at the City Council on Nov 8th to bring awareness to the subject. This issue desperately needs to be heard by the citizens of Longmont. The Times-Call had their opportunity to do so, but instead gave us one misquoted sentence. They quoted these proposed wells are 350’ from property boundaries. This is a significant misquote, as they plan on putting them 350’ from our back doors, not property boundaries. When I contacted four different people at Times-Call about their misquote, they did not even reply! I do not understand why a local paper would have such apathy towards this issue. This is their back yard also. Unfortunately they would rather write commentary about Santa Claus shortages on the other side of the country. The more the citizens of Longmont know what is going on, the more input the city can receive before this gets a vote. There are some serious long term issues at stake that reach far beyond just noise or light pollution. I urge the citizens of Longmont to get out there and spread the word that we do not want this industry in our open space.