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Thursday, December 26,2013


Week of December 26

We used the word “claim” in the headline instead of words like “think” or “believe” because, frankly, it’s really hard to find anyone not being compensated by the oil and gas industry who honestly believes that delaying fracking in populated areas while more research and testing on its health and environmental impacts is done is a bad idea. The exception is those nut jobs who think that questioning any action of a corporation makes you a Marxist.

Let’s recap just a little of what we Commies have learned about fracking and oil and gas shale production while the drilling rigs have been paused by our local bans and moratoriums.

We now have a study out of the University of Colorado that found that if you live within a half-mile of a production platform your chances of getting cancer increase significantly. Our own government researchers here in Boulder (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have found that oil and gas wells and production facilities are responsible for much of the ground level ozone in the area, ozone that is bad for everyone but poses a severe health risk for asthmatics and others with respiratory illnesses.

We have research that shows that gas from as deep as 12,000 feet can find its way into our shallow groundwater after a 50- to 100-year upward migration. That means that the 20 percent to 40 percent of fracking fluid that is unrecoverable after each well is fracked likely has the same chance to make it into our water supplies at approximately the same pace. Sucks to be you, future generations.

And most recently, a new study out of the University of Missouri found that it’s likely that fracking and other oil and gas activity, like spills, are putting hormone-disrupting chemicals into our surface and groundwater supplies, including the Colorado River that serves as a drinking water supply to tens of millions of Americans.

No wonder the industry wants to drill everything now before the rest of the research comes in. Just imagine what other dreadful discoveries we will be making regarding fracking and oil and gas shale development in the next few years.

We’re afraid it’s just going to get harder and harder for all those industry PR hacks to sleep at night. Perhaps someone should research that.


This holiday season, when you’re lying around the house, engorged from your feasting and drinking, looking for something to do, why not hop online and sign the petition challenging the constitutionality of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission?

Yes, this is that state board that is charged with simultaneously policing and promoting the oil and gas industry. Too often, it neglects the former.

So Carl L. McWilliams has launched a petition that reads: “The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) statutes illegally altered the Colorado Constitution @ ART. V, Sec. 35, ART. XX, Sec. 6 without the ‘consent of the governed.’ Therefore, Gov. Hickenlooper and the Colorado General Assembly have violated their constitutional oaths and must convene a special Constitutional Convention to remedy the unconstitutional Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission statutes.”

The petition, which has garnered more than 400 signatures, is available at http://bit.ly/1c1C4lE.

In his invitation to sign the petition, McWilliams cites the fact that Gov. John Hickenlooper has sued the city of Longmont over its fracking ban and has threatened to sue other municipalities that follow Longmont’s path.

“Gov. Hickenlooper is guilty of the acts and omissions of ‘Constitutional Torts’ and must be made to answer to We the People of Colorado, (the Sovereign), in Federal District Court in Denver,” McWilliams writes.

A bit Tea Party-ish, don’t you think? Maybe the two ends of the political spectrum have more in common than they think. After all, the Occupy movement originally counted Tea Partiers among its supporters.

On the fracking issue, as with so many others, we have to agree that local control by the citizenry is better than a heavy-handed, big-government approach.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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For every study that suggests some issue or another, especially in CO there are ten others that repute. If well site proximity and fracking escalated cancer and other illnesses then those in West Texas would have very clear trends of illnesses. Fracking and close well site proximity has been a way of life since the late 60's in the Permian Basin. There is no higher rate of cancer or other issues. Common sense in practice shows over and over that there is no evidence of issues, just those that wish to be disruptive or that are misinformed but passionate. If you are going to preach on cons, realistic or otherwise, then also talk to the pros...balance in perspective is always valued in the long run. 



If the writers had read the University of Colorado Report mentioned in the article, they would know that the "increased" risk of cancer amounted to 80 cases per one million population.  This is within EPA acceptable risk levels and is only slightly larger (60 additional cancer cases per milloion population) than earlier risk assessments done using the same data in Garfield County. The difference came from some additional data gathered for this study and the half-mile distance was somewhat arbitrary as it was established from a nearby odor complaint smelled up to a half mile away.  It was not based on some established chemical concentration or specific risk factor.  The writer also does not mention the various assumptions used to develop the risk assessment that may not represent a realistic exposure scenario.  In any case, this is another example where a writer has taken numerous statements out of context and made them bigger than they really are.


Jim....I think you get it....but, you don't mention all of the chemicals that are NOT included in the Colorado report....In Garfield County they found MANY chemicals in the air that had no inhalation health data....difficult to assess in a risk assessment....also, you certainly know about synergism of chemicals....where did you think to include this as acceptable risk? ....bottom line.. EPA should not have the authority to say it's OK to kill 1 person in 12,500 which you mention below re the 80 in a million risk ... Most of the public don't understand the EPA bullet...I'm sure you know the risk did not include pregnant women, children, and the most vulnerable....and non carcinogenic risk.... You know risk assessment is the tool of the industry...Dr. Theo Colburn found so many chemicals in the flowback...AND you think it's OK? You think flaring the chemicals is OK? The chemicals should be regulated by the toxic waste act....RCRA....this law would prevent fracking.....you wouldn't flare chemicals...you wouldn't put them in unlined pits to evaporate...you wouldn't evaporate chemicals instead of incinerate... this is hazardous waste that Would not be allowed next to residential developments...would you now? Oh yes you probably support the new term for oil and gas toxic waste... "produce water" - hiding hazardous waste. :)



Misinformation and bias by the writer of this article, by the way who's name is no where to be found. the comment "We now have a study out of the University of Colorado that found that if you live within a half-mile of a production platform your chances of getting cancer increase significantly". Incorrect. CU said "Study shows air emmisions near fracking sites MAY pose health risks".

Where are all of the dead oil field workers working on top of these oil and gas wells over the last 90 years? 

Also, of the millions of gas stations in the US, 20% create levels of benzene exceed EPA clean air standards within 1/2 a block of the station. Why don't we condemn those stations, or homes first? Two-way street-pretty convenient.



Hydraulic fracturing has been underway in the U.S. for more than 60 years, and in Colorado for decades. Throughout this long history, the EPA confirms, there has never been a single incident of groundwater contamination related to hydraulic fracturing. What’s more, C02 emissions are at near 20-year lows. This is a time-tested practice that has proven to be safe throughout more than one million well projects. Bans add unnecessary hurdles that impede the progress of our economy and our energy future. Bottom line: Responsible energy development is absolutely possible, all the while protecting our environment.


-Renee, Energy Citizens Coordinator



Too much Pakalolo for you ....


Renee, Hydraulic fracturing....horizontal high pressure fracking has NOT occurred for more than 60 years!!! OMG....every fracking site has been contaminated...if you know anything about hazardous waste...how about that discussion? You won't discuss this because you should know any referral to toxic waste is exempt from conversation or regulations ... There is contamination statewide.....you point to groundwater...there IS groundwater contamination...read the COGCC reports!!! Oh brother...talk about misinformation...Look at the hundreds and hundreds of citizen complaints on the COGCC website ... FLARING some of the most toxic chemicals without pollution control equipment...dumping waste on citizens property without liners...evaporation of the toxic chemicals...Please... talk about how RCRA would stop frackers... oh I forgot...how about the frackwater used as a de-icer... nice job.