(Re: “If you don’t like fracking, hope you like global warming,” Danish Plan, April 4.) I read your recent column about fracking and global warming. While I believe there is validity to your arguments, I feel that you are completely ignoring a critical piece of this particular issue.
The COGCC and their ally Gov. Hickenlooper want to put the fracking operations ridiculously close to people’s homes and neighborhood. The scientific data is extremely clear that current fracking practices adversely affect the local air and water quality. The impact to home values is also pretty undeniable.
Therefore, I ask the same question to you, the governor, the COGC execs, and the all those who will profit from these operations — are you willing to have a fracking rig within 150 feet of your home? If not, your arguments are not very credible.
The tide of anti-fracking sentiment was considerably lower before the COGCC started plans to build close to where folks live, made it clear that they were legally entitled to do so, threatened to sue if there was objections, etc. This is not the behavior of a group that intends to be good partners with the local communities.
So please, until you have rig in your back yard, stop preaching to us. Also, you lost me on the nuclear portion of your argument. Yes, we’d have cheaper energy, but we might also have a few more Chernobyls and Fukushimas.
Thank you, Paul Danish, for telling the truth about fracking. Fracking is what is helping to keep our economy afloat and creating high-paying jobs in Colorado and my native state of Ohio. It also keeps us from being at the mercy of Middle East oil producers. Our natural gas prices are so low that foreign companies are relocating here to take advantage of our low energy costs. I hate to stereotype but pretty much anything the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center is against is good for our country. Keep up the good work.
Fracking in Broomfield
I would like to comment on the proposal to allow hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for shale gas near Prospect Ridge Academy in Broomfield.
Fundamentally, the community needs to ask the following questions:
• How many wells and platforms are proposed and over what area? The larger the number, the greater the environmental (air, water) impact.
• How many trucks per day and over what period of time? Each well requires approximately 1 million gallons of water. A typical tanker truck can carry from 5,000 to 10,000 gallons. Clean water is mixed with a large number of organic compounds, mostly poi sonous, and used to crack the shale under high pressure, releasing the gas.
• Will the “fracking waste” be stored on-site in a pool or trucked off-site for disposal? Fracking waste arises from partial recovery of the fracking liquid. In some cases this is stored in large pools on-site for evaporation. It is not always responsibly dealt with.
• Will any of the “fracking waste” be sprayed on local roads and highways to keep down dust? This is one way that the poisonous waste can get into the air and water.
• Will there be air monitors for the presence of hydrocarbons (methane, fracking waste compounds)? If so, and if high levels are found, what are the remediation steps?
• Will there be gas flares burning night and day to burn off escaping shale gas? If so, how many?
• Does anyone in the area rely on well water?
• Should the heavy load of truck traffic break down the roadways (it usually does), who pays to repair the roads? How much dust will these trucks create on a daily basis?
There are many more far-reaching questions about the overall practice of fracking. One of the biggest is, “Why is it necessary to exempt hydraulic fracturing from the Clean Air and Water Act?” This fact alone makes the entire process dubious.
Other important questions include the impact of cheap gas on climate change, the wisdom of destroying billions and billions of gallons of clean water, the disposal of the fracking waste (NIMBY) since water treatment plants cannot remove the toxic compounds. Hydraulic fracturing is heavy industry — do we want this in our neighborhoods and close to our schools?
(Re: “Municipalization minefield,” cover story, Feb. 28.) The City of Boulder continues to win awards from various groups who measure community health and local quality of life.
The reasons for these accolades have to do with the progressive citizenry and our decades-long legacy of forwardthinking planning endeavors that value the sense of place of Boulder and the local experiences that people enjoy in the city. Many of our future-oriented planning initiatives are known nationally and have focused on increasing pedestrian, cycling and transit access; preserving greenways and wildlife habitats; applying growth management techniques that delineate a precise boundary to limit sprawl and shape the city; developing a vital downtown intended to take advantage of a beautiful walking promenade along Pearl Street; and preserving a local, clean and reliable water supply.
Now we are at another crossroads seeking to obtain local control for our energy future from Xcel so that we can reduce fossil fuel consumption, reduce consumer costs and increase utilization of solar, wind and other alternative fuel sources. Like our previous planning successes, the city’s Energy Future and Municipalization Project is another well-conceived, forward-thinking idea meant to enhance our quality of life and build a better energy system for future generations.
Follow Ecuador’s lead
In 2008, the people of Ecuador adopted provisions in their constitution for the Rights of Nature. One provision states: “Nature ... has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.” We should have similar language included in our county comprehensive plan.
One reason Ecuador adopted their Rights of Nature was because American oil and gas companies left behind environmental devastation and pollution, including groundwater contamination, when they extracted Ecuador’s natural resources. In two months, the county moratorium on oil and gas development will expire. One only has to look at the devastation in Colorado’s Western Slope communities to anticipate what will happen here once fracking accelerates. A Rifle resident gave an account of his experience at the January COGCC hearings: “It’s too late. Our land, our water, our air, our lives already have been poisoned to the extent that I don’t think they can be repaired or healed during our lifetimes.” I fear this is what’s in store for Boulder County. I am also concerned about the decline of wildlife populations in Boulder County. A well-known and highly regarded wildlife consultant stated at a public meeting that we are at a tipping point right now: We are about to lose the whole thing. He was referring to the dire state of grassland species in Boulder County, including wintering Ferruginous Hawk and Golden Eagle populations, which have decreased by 93 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Who would have imagined that Boulder County would be in this predicament?
There needs to be a paradigm shift in how we view our relationship with nature. It should be an inclusive rela tionship where humans, wildlife, all living creatures and entities are positioned within the Circle of Life.
There is no holding back the future, but we can prepare for challenging times by developing creative and innovative policies, similar to what Ecuador, a Third World country, adopted. If people of Ecuador have the courage to accomplish what seemed impossible, why can’t we be as bold and do the same in Boulder County?