|Sent on:||Monday, March 11, 2013 12:31 PM|
If you, like me, oppose fracking, you’re in the majority in Colorado Springs, according to a poll conducted by Luce Research for the Colorado Springs Independent. And tomorrow we have the most important opportunity yet to make our voices heard.
Colorado Springs City Council will vote tomorrow, Tuesday, March 12, on the oil and gas regulations that will give the green light to hydraulic fracturing within the Colorado Springs city limits. This means that a fracking operation would be legally able to locate within 350 feet of your home.
At 11:45 a.m. tomorrow, concerned citizens from across the community will gather at City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Avenue, to urge City Council to vote against enacting the oil and gas regulations as they stand. Following the rally, we’ll attend the City Council meeting at 1 p.m. to speak to the issues and witness Council’s decision.
City Council will take this vote -- which has the potential to change forever the air, water, and landscape of our town -- without ever having given us the opportunity to be heard at a public hearing. Last year Council held public hearings on:
And yet Council refuses, in spite of petitions asking for one, to hold a public hearing about fracking so that citizens have the opportunity to hear expert opinion from both sides of the issue concerning extremely negative effects on the lives of those who now dwell in the vicinity of wells.
Here’s a summary of some of citizen concerns that were never addressed in a public hearing prior to tomorrow’s vote --
Risks to human health. They are present at every step of the hydraulic fracturing natural gas extraction process. Drilling muds, whose composition includes highly toxic and dangerous chemicals, are used to drill the well. Approximately a million or more gallons of fluids are blasted underground under high pressure. One well can be fracked 10 or more times, and there can be up to 28 wells on one well pad. An estimated 30% to 70% of the fracking fluid will resurface, bringing back with it toxic substances that are naturally present in underground oil and gas deposits, as well as the chemicals used in the fracking fluid.
In addition to water contamination issues, at each stage of production and delivery, tons of toxic volatile compounds, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, etc., and fugitive natural gas (methane), escape to pollute the air up to 200 miles beyond the well pad.
In a University of Colorado School of Public Health study, researchers found that people living within a half-mile of oil- and gas-well fracking operations were exposed to highly toxic air pollutants at levels FIVE TIMES above federal hazard standards.
Despite the fact that fracking wells are known to be sources of dangerous pollutants with significant effects on human health, the “Halliburton loophole” included in the 2005 energy bill stripped the EPA of its authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. This means that the oil and gas industry is exempt from important provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and other federal environmental laws.
The absence of federal regulatory oversight has left it up to individual states to regulate this industry and adequately enforce those regulations. The State of Colorado has shown that it has neither the will nor the resources to effectively regulate the oil and gas industry in our state.
The pollution described above is what happens when everything goes according to plan. But accidents are major sources of ADDITIONAL contamination of our water, air, and land. Last month, for example, a broken valve on a well near Fort Collins resulted in the spewing of a horizontal geyser of green-tinted fracking water for more than 30 hours.
Water destruction. Every time a oil/gas well is fracked, 5,000,000 gallons of water are destroyed. That water must be taken out of the planet’s water resources forever because it has been turned into extremely hazardous waste. The destroyed water must be sealed off permanently from the environment in the same way that radioactive waste must be. Every site used for both the temporary and permanent storage of destroyed water has the potential to become a Superfund site.
Damage to property values. According to the Colorado School of Public Health, fracking “causes a decline in property values.” People have seen the value of their homes plummet by as much as 85 percent when their property becomes polluted or otherwise impacted by fracking. For example, Tim and Christine Ruggiero, who own a home on 10 acres in Wise County, Texas, saw the valuation of their home drop from $257,330 in 2010 to $75,240 today as a result of fracking operations nearby.
If you think you’re safe because you live in a residential area inside the city limits, think again. Under the regulations to be voted on by City Council tomorrow, fracking could even take place in our parks and open spaces.
So, please, take a couple of hours out of your day tomorrow to show up and say “NO!” to allowing the oil and gas industry to destroy communities and landscapes we hold precious.