It is refreshing to know that there are still newspapers that will expose what governments and corporations do not want exposed. I applaud the Boulder Weekly for their May 2 article “Longmont-area farmer struggles to access evidence for oil and gas fine hearing.” I further applaud Rod Brueske for his relentless pursuit of the facts and the truth regarding the degradation of the health of his family from hydraulic fracturing and the complete consequences resulting from the practice.
I wish that I could say that I am both surprised and appalled. But I am neither. The behavior of the COGCC and their attorney (the office of the attorney general) are completely consistent with everything that has transpired since members of the public throughout the state have examined the actions of the oil and gas industry; the state agency “fostering” the development of oil and gas resources while allegedly regulating it in the interest of public health, safety and welfare; and the ascendance of John Hickenlooper to the governor’s seat and his subsequent role as the industry’s most powerful lobbyist.
The roadblocks that the governor, the attorney general’s office, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission are placing in Mr. Brueske’s way should not be allowed to stand. As the article states, Mr. Brueske is a farmer, not a lawyer. All three of the aforementioned obstructionists know full well that they are intentionally denying justice for Mr. Brueske. The COGCC is not and never will be — under current statute, representation and mandate — an agency created for the protection of public health.
It is unconscionable that Mr. Brueske as a lay person should have to struggle through the convoluted bureaucratic procedures of the COGCC as well as hostile positions of the agency and the attorney general. It is time for a committed attorney to step up to the plate and represent Mr. Brueske, pro bono if necessary. He should not have to face the state attorney and an army of Encana attorneys on his own.
We almost got nabbed too
We were intrigued by your cover story “Kidnapped: a Boulder resident’s involuntary journey in Venezuela” (May 9) as we, too, recently had a brush with kidnapping when we traveled from Boulder to Venezuela. We spent time in Caracas, and certainly the city seemed to live up to its reputation as one of the more dangerous cities in the world. We were there on a commission for the Royal Geographical Society in London, to write an article for its publication, Geographical, about a unique river in southern Venezuela called the Casiquiare — one of the strangest rivers on the planet since it appears to flow uphill.
At the end of our journey to the Amazon basin, we made the mistake of crossing the border into Colombia, where some FARC guerrillas tried to kidnap and hold us for ransom. As you might guess, we managed to escape. But we were sufficiently impressed by our FARC confrontation to write not only the commissioned article, but also a book called Along the River that Flows Uphill – from the Orinoco to the Amazon. It uses math, science and reason to assess the risks of adventurous travel — something that we, clearly, had not done very well before our Venezuelan journey.
When we returned to Boulder after our trip we contacted the State Department to report the attempted kidnapping and to see what kind of government assistance we might have received. Not much, apparently. We don’t fault our government. There’s not a lot it can do in these situations. Its website already warns of the dangers of kidnapping in both Venezuela and Colombia, so its message is clear: Don’t go there — unless, of course, you’re fully aware of the risks that are involved, and are willing to deal with whatever happens.
Richard Starks and Miriam Murcutt/ Boulder
Nice Hick column
(Re: “The bad news: Hickenlooper is not delusional,” DyerTimes, May 9.) Your article on Hickenlooper and fracking was outstanding. Thank you for the information and advocacy on behalf of life on the planet!