Tag Archive for open space

FRL is Proud to Endorse Garry Sanfacon for County Commissioner

Garry Sanfacon 2011

Garry Sanfacon, District 1 Boulder County Commissioner candidate

On his website, Garry Sanfacon states, “We owe our special quality of life to Boulder County’s rich history of visionary thinkers.”   Sanfacon is the visionary thinker for our time and our place.  He is a champion of our right to local self-determination and for charting a course to a sustainable future.

Sanfacon is committed to strengthening the Boulder County human services safety net.  One in four Boulder County children lives in poverty; a high percentage of these children live in Longmont.  He will address improvements in our safety net by focusing on the root causes of poverty – insufficient affordable housing, the need for jobs that provide a solid economic foundation, and for improved mental health assistance to help those in our community whose ability for self-sufficiency is impaired.

Sanfacon does not, and will not, accept fracking as inevitable in Boulder County.  He believes that clean air and water and our health are rights not to be regulated or negotiated away by governments and their agents.  He will take a firm stand against GMO crops on Boulder County Open Space.

Although Garry Sanfacon lives in Nederland, he is the strongest advocate for Longmont amongst the candidates in the Boulder County Board of Commissioners District 1 race.  Longmont is in District 2 where current Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardner is our choice for that seat.

Sanfacon believes that there are additional properties the County should acquire in order to preserve important natural habitat and agricultural lands.  He will work with user groups to find policies and strategies to balance the use of open space with strong protections for plant and wildlife habitats, riparian corridors, cultural resources and scenic vistas.

Sanfacon’s experience is both broad and deep.  He is currently the Boulder County Manager for Fourmile Canyon Fire Recovery and has worked in the county’s Long Range Planning Division.  He has served on the Boulder County Planning Commission as Vice Chair and where he spearheaded the Sustainability Element of the Comprehensive Plan Update and actively supported one of the strongest green building codes in the country.

Sanfacon has owned his own small business and has a wide range of volunteer service in non-profit areas related to youth, education, and health.  Sanfacon also served as lead organizer for the Nederland Downtown Development Authority Formation Committee.

Garry Sanfacon is the leader for the future that Boulder County needs.

Ban fracking – because it can happen here

Like most people, I had no idea what hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was until one day over two years ago. At the time, I was living in New York City where land isn’t even available for elbow room, let alone to frack. But, one clear day in January, I got a call from my mother who had just received a letter in the mail.

She called to tell me she had received a lease agreement from an oil and gas company. My parents had moved to Northeast Ohio a couple years prior and purchased a pretty house in a small farming community. They chose this property because it abutted protected wetlands. And now, this oil and gas company wanted to frack wells on their property.

Like other states in the rust belt, Ohio had been hit hard by the recession, and communities were suffering. The developer of my parents’ subdivision was no exception. The neighborhood was not built out and new homes weren’t in demand, so it came as no surprise that when an oil and gas company approached the developer with an offer to drill natural gas wells in the subdivision with the promise of hefty compensation, he readily accepted.

In order to get around the protected wetlands, the proposed drilling would happen on adjacent property and the drilling would go horizontally under multiple houses. Because the oil and gas company needed more acreage than the developer had, several residents were contacted with the purpose of leasing their land in order to drill.

Feeling uneasy about the situation, my mom did her research and discovered the environmental hazards associated with hydraulic fractured wells, as well as the possibility of decreased property values. Her suspicions were confirmed when she discovered that in 2008, a house in a neighboring town was blown off its foundation from a faulty gas well that leaked oil and gas into the aquifer. Last spring in another neighboring town a poorly maintained well exploded, spewing crude oil, brine, and natural gas into a nearby stream — next to a busy commercial district.

Although my parents didn’t sign the lease, you don’t have to venture too far from their house today to find that hydraulic fracturing had already invaded their area: Within a mile radius of my parents’ home, there are more than eight producing wells, and over 2,324 producing wells in their county alone — most of which had been drilled since 2007. Many of these were drilled unbeknownst to the community, and the large wells litter the landscape — even in public open spaces.

I moved out to Boulder in September because, like most of the people here, I love the outdoors. The scenery and environmental spirit here are unparalleled. The open spaces in which Boulder residents have access are breathtaking.

But, the danger of fracking in these public lands is imminent. There are over 45,000 fracked wells in Colorado, with more than one spill each day. In 2008, a wastewater pit in Western Colorado leaked 1.6 million gallons of fluid, which migrated into the Colorado River–the source of drinking water for 30 million Westerners downstream.

We need to speak out clearly and say we don’t want drilling in Boulder County. Although the Boulder County Commissioners passed a 6-month moratorium on accepting and processing new applications for oil and gas drilling operations in our open spaces, this is just a first step. During these six months, I encourage the county commissioners to use our taxpayer dollars to investigate all legal options to ban fracking in Boulder County.

As my parents discovered, there is no way to make fracking perfectly safe. Once our land and water have been fracked, the damage can’t be undone. Is that a risk we are willing to take on the landscape that so many of us enjoy? The land that was purchased with taxpayer dollars to be enjoyed by all as open space? To truly protect the health of our families, our community, and our environment, Boulder County should follow the lead of dozens of other localities across the United States that have passed measures to ban fracking.

Melissa A. Schiltz lives in Boulder.

Fracking in Longmont Open Space?

Dear Mayor Baum and City Council,

Oil and Money -do mix

I found out several days ago that plans are being prepared by city staff and others to allow for horizontal drilling for natural gas and oil on Longmont city-owned properties, including on Longmont Open Space. Then I find in the City Council Study Session packet for October 18, 2011, that the City is having a conversation with Weld County about how they deal with their gas and oil well drilling agreements. What’s up?

First, before any kind of drilling is approved, I urge our Mayor and City Council members to educate themselves about the dangers of fracking by watching the movie, “Gasland” to get a better understanding of hydraulic fracturing, also know as FRACKING.

Caustic fluids (things such as biocides and breaking agents – very toxic chemical concoctions that are trade secrets) are injected under pressure deep into the strata in order to release natural gas and/or oil that might not be obtainable through regular drilling methods. One of the problems, however, is the forcing of natural gas into places where it doesn’t belong, like in people’s water wells. Just to the east of Longmont, people are able to light the water coming out of their faucets because it is full of methane.

At a recent meeting that discussed the dangers of fracking, a woman from Firestone, where drilling platforms and condensate tanks surround the neighborhood and local schools, told us that people are getting sick. Cancer rates in her neighborhood have risen dramatically and other serious health issues have appeared. Of course, that is in Weld County, where they’ve dug hundreds if not thousands of these kinds of wells. However, Weld County Commissioners appear not to be concerned with the health and wellbeing of their population.

When I heard that Longmont is considering allowing drilling on our Open Space land that is owned by the people of Longmont and close to homes, I was flabbergasted.

Drilling for oil THIS CLOSE to Union Reservoir?! Insane!

By the way, did you know that Fracking requires the use of millions of gallons of water? An initial “Frack” requires one to four million gallons of water. That amount is enough domestic water for 30 to 100 homes for a year. However, since each well requires up to 32 frackings – well, you do the math. In our state, it’s common knowledge that water supplies are already inadequate.

Of course, there is the issue of cleaning up of the injected water. The extracted water sits in ponds to evaporate. What type of chemical soup is in the water? Deadly toxins!

And what about emissions? Fracking is producing seriously harmful air quality problems. In Wyoming, for example, there is a rural town that has the highest ozone levels in the country. Ozone gives lungs a sunburn – did you know that?

Sure, it makes sense to find out how Weld County manages their oil and gas wells. However, given the problems that Weld County is experiencing, you should be running in the opposite direction as fast as you can. It’s a nightmare waiting to happen. But wait, is it all about the money?

Please, don’t allow FRACKING anywhere near our city.