Thanks for fracking coverage
[Re: “The fracking/real estate conundrum,” News, Dec. 12.] Thanks for taking the fracking coverage in this direction.
Along with frack sand mining and the use of fracked natural gas liquids as tar sands diluents (making fracked gas that much worse than coal in greenhouse impacts), the impact of the drilling boom on surrounding surface property values is underreported.
Not only are local property owners subsidizing gas drilling companies’ profits with an uncompensated loss on our investments, but the knock-on effect of reduced property tax revenues to county governments, schools and special districts is another substantial subsidy to the tune of millions of dollars per year. Can’t these frackers make an honest living without cheating us out of our investments or siphoning off government revenues? They’re just as bad as Wall Street banks.
Also, a cynical view of the new air emissions regs [Re: “Hickenlooper’s new oil and gas regulations: Real substance or fracking greenwash?” Cover story, Nov. 27] shows a move to push small operators out of the market on the part of the big drilling companies. They can afford the equipment, and they get a bonus out of the new regs: protection from nuisance lawsuits. Just this summer some Pennsylvania homeowners hired Charlie Speer, a nuisance lawsuit pioneer, to sue frackers over issues like noise, dust and vented gasses. If they win, more suits will follow. The trick is that generally you can’t sue for nuisances that are regulated by some law or agency. Thus, BTEX emissions and other things covered by these new regs would likely be off the table in Colorado.
Frackenlooper has to look like he’s doing something or face growing resistance to his complete abandonment of his adopted party’s base. The EDF doesn’t need to be an industry puppet to be a useful idiot in this case.
Hick gets political cover; Anadarko, Encana, and other major frackers get an advantage against small-time players and protection from some lawsuits; and the EDF gets something special for their fundraising efforts while not having to do anything to actually defend the environment.
The only losers in this deal are those of us who have to breathe anywhere near the inadequately regulated, un-inspected equipment tacked on to the condensate tanks.