The Environmental Protection Agency held a hearing in Denver on September 28th. The hearing was about new regulations for clean air concerning oil/gas drilling. Representatives from Elbert County attended. The day consisted of a rally in the morning, a meeting of representatives who are concerned about the effects of lax regulations from all over the State, and the hearing, itself. It was a productive day; the attendees made connections.
Representatives from the State included folks from Park County, Huerfano County, Arapahoe County, Los Animas County, Denver County, Garfield County, and our Elbert County. Activists attended from all over Colorado and helped facilitate the discussions. Everyone had concerns about hydraulic fracturing of the shale oil deep under Colorado. The issues were about water, air, disruption of life and property values.
Everyone was disturbed about from where the millions (trillions) of gallons of water necessary to fracture the some 60,000 wells in Colorado would come. Equally upsetting was the possible impact on existing residence water wells. Also about water was the lack of information from drillers about where contaminated water would be disposed. Non stop generators emitting diesel fuel, the evaporation of volatile organic compounds into the air from open pits, emissions of carcinogenic chemicals from condensate tanks, and having to have to breathe the dust created from thousands of truck trips on our dirt roads led the concerns about pollution to the air. Representatives disliked having generators at oil/gas rigs running 24/7, lights from 150' rigs illuminating the night skies, rigs as close as one hundred fifty feet from residences and non stop truck traffic. Issues were raised about the impact on wildlife. Finally, the concern about what raping the land did to property values where most folks had invested their life savings.
Representatives agreed to continue the communication between counties and coalitions; to start petitions to increase regulations through legislation; to offer organizational training sessions; to increase the 'Bucket Brigade', which is a citizen way of monitoring air pollution; and to continue to petition county commissioners to require monitoring oil/gas truck traffic. Law suits against the oil companies were being pursed by some counties but were very expensive. Everyone agreed that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee, the regulatory agency in Colorado, should change their name and leave out the word 'Conservation'. It was recommended that everyone who might be impacted by fracking should have a baseline water test by an independent agency.
Oil companies are using the line that exploration is necessary to provide jobs and money to needy local and state governments. This may be true but to what extent? Are those impacted prepared to have their lives jeopardized unnecessarily? Can't we drill responsibly so that health and safety aren't compromised? We have to have as many people stand up for our Constitutional Rights as possible. Contact Jill or Jim Duvall, organizers of ECOGIG, jduvall908@aol.co, (303) 646-3202, to be included in receiving information.
Wes Wilson Making a Statement
Rick Blotter Testifying
Statewide Coalition
EPA Hearing Panel
Map of Elbert County; the sections where the oil companies own mineral rights all ready (in green), where they've all ready leased land (in red), and where the COGCC has approved spacing (in orange).
EPA Regional Hearings
Sept 28, 2011
by Rick Blotter,
Photos George Saum
Air photo courtesy Ecoflight.info