City of Boulder Ballot Question 2H
Oil and Gas Exploration Moratorium Extension
Question 2H asks voters to extend an existing moratorium on new oil and gas exploration for five years. Yes, it’s time for the F-word. Fracking. That’s the catchy, ugly term for hydraulic fracturing that is sometimes misused to describe all processes associated with oil and gas operations. Actually, fracking refers only to the act of shooting a cocktail of water, sand and chemicals into a well to create tiny fractures in the formation, increasing yield. And unfortunately, fracking is blamed for some negative health and environmental impacts that are actually affiliated with other processes in the oil and gas operation, like drilling and the disposal of produced water.
Unless this is the first time you’ve picked up Boulder Weekly in
a couple of years, you can probably guess where we are coming down on
fracking bans in this election. This five-year moratorium, while a bit
long as far as moratoria go, is needed to allow the science — and our
publicly elected policymakers — to catch up with the possible
deleterious effects associated with oil and gas exploration, from air
and water pollution to massive drains on our water supply to earthquakes
caused by injecting wastewater into the earth.
Five years from now, several key studies — including a $12 million one at the University of Colorado funded by the National Science Foundation — will be completed, and we’ll know a lot more about whether the risks associated with practices like fracking are worth the gain. We’ll be voting for 2H.
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