Letters | Boulder Weekly rocks, fracking doesn’t


‘BW’ rocks, fracking doesn’t

I’ve been a fan of Boulder Weekly since moving to Longmont. The newspaper’s pull-no-punches reporting has always been refreshing. Its ability to see the significance of breaking information and to raise new issues to prominence in the community is outstanding.

The characteristic that I celebrate the most is Boulder Weekly’s thorough, accurate investigative reporting, mostly recently demonstrated in the in-depth analysis of the old coal gasification plant in Boulder and the contamination of soil and water left behind from operations more than half a century ago.

As I read the latest articles, the immortal words of Ronald Reagan came to mind, “There you go again.”

Not only is it my fervent hope, it now appears to be my life’s work to assure that history does not repeat itself. I refer to the ever-unfolding situation of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling for gas and oil.

Seventy years ago we may have been able to say that practices that contaminated the environment and damaged health were not well understood. They are now, however, and there is no excuse for the denial and mendacity that are demonstrated over and over by the oil and gas industry and by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. A few sentences shouted out to me as I read the reporting on Boulder’s old coal gas plant, among which were these:

“However, of all the contaminants found in coal tar, the BTEX [benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene] compounds are the most soluble and are thus the most likely to be dissolved in groundwater and migrate off site. These are also the most volatile and are thus the most likely to migrate through subsurface soils as vapors or soil gas.” These volatile organics are known to be carcinogenic and/or highly toxic. They are also compounds found in fracking fluid.

So unless our local governments or their citizens stand in solidarity against those who would sacrifice others in their immoral adventure to frack everything in sight, this time the consequences will leave human and environmental destruction in their wake and all will be watching.

Are you listening, Boulder County?

Kaye Fissinger/Longmont

Don’t give in to fracking, or GMOs, for that matter

The argument that Longmont residents should give into the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s wishes in order to prevent the industry from suing the city is short-sighted, similar to the reasoning behind buying cheap, processed, genetically modified food in order to save upfront costs. Both acts will save money in the short-term, but there will be a tremendous price to pay later on.

Oil and gas development within the city limits of Longmont would lower the quality of life for all residents, due to heavier traffic, air pollution from the VOCs and industrial vehicles, noise from the process, water contamination, and possible accidents, which have already occurred near Longview. Fewer people will want to live here, bringing down home values and reducing the possibility of longterm business growth. Parachute Creek on the Western Slope was recently contaminated by a spill. It’s worth examining the long-term costs of contaminating water sources for an agricultural community.

The consequence of relying on cheap, mass-produced, GMO-laden food will be higher health care costs for all and devastating health effects and costs for individuals. Already we are seeing a spike in childhood diabetes, obesity and heart disease from mindless eating habits, driven by a powerful food industry. We can dwell on the legal costs of facing a lawsuit, or we can focus on the future of Longmont and how it can thrive by resisting pressures from the state and powerful oil and gas industry. Longmont is now a wonderful place to raise a family. Stunning mountain views, beautiful parks, many educational options, and healthy people make Longmont an attractive place to bring business and buy a home. Why compromise that over a lawsuit?

Michelle Skagen/Longmont