Guest column

Facts, science should drive fracking debate


For the past few years we've seen environmental activists take a greater role within Colorado communities and impose ideologically extreme agendas onto local residents. Fear mongering and distorting the facts are their specialty, and many locals don't see what's happening until it is too late.

Alarmist claims by activist groups have led to oil and gas drilling moratoriums that are passed out of panic and based on opinion, not science. These extremists don't care if they put people out of work and send Colorado into an economic recession. Fractivists, as they have come to be known, would have the public believe that the jury is still out on whether the process of hydraulic fracturing is safe. If you're someone who doesn't believe in science and still thinks the earth is flat, than this may seem like a reasonable perspective. For the rest of us, however, it is simply impossible to ignore the facts.

Fact: over one million wells have been safely fracked in the U.S. since 1947. Fracking takes place a mile below the surface and thousands of feet below Colorado's drinking water table. Several layers of cement and steel are used to protect groundwater sources, and fracking fluid is 99.5 percent water and sand. Oil and gas companies work with engineers, wildlife biologists, geologists and environmental experts before a well is ever fracked. This is to ensure that the health and safety of the environment and local residents is protected. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy even told the Boston Globe "there is nothing inherently dangerous about fracking."

The leaders of the anti-fracking movement sweeping through Colorado don't care about any of that. A simple Google search will show that their true intentions are actually hidden from every day Coloradans.

Former Erie Mayor Joe Wilson told The Daily Camera in 2012 that he believed the town's board of trustees was given false information on air quality before voting on a 180-day moratorium on new oil and gas development. Erie town officials ended up commissioning their own air quality studies, which proved there was no danger.

As environmentalists work to ban fracking in our state, I urge voters to get all the facts before making a decision. Coloradans have the right to hold oil and gas companies accountable and make sure they're following all the rules. This is part of the deal - you drill in our backyard, and we hold your feet to fire. What we don't need are roaming bands of fractivists muddying up this issue with insincere hysterics and outright lies.

Colorado is host to some of the most well-educated residents in the nation. Thirty-second sound bites have rendered some of the brightest among us to believe half-truths and distortions. Please do not make this important issue one of those times where you are swayed by those that would like to see this industry shut down.

Do your research and realize that while this industry no more deserves a free pass than any other, they also deserve the ability to provide energy here in America, reduce our foreign dependence, and create good, stable, well-paying jobs for Coloradans.

Jeff Wasden, a Highlands Ranch resident, is president of the Colorado Business Roundtable and sits on the board of Vital For Colorado, a group of business leaders working to promote the benefits of energy production in the State of Colorado.


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If we would have listened to our "environmental extremists" years ago, we would not have our current ozone problems that are impacting every facet of life on earth. Our ozone layer, TEN MILES from earth, is obviously impacted by excessive methane we create through industrial farming, FRACKING, and other irresponsible human activities. It does not take a "rocket scientist" to predict that pumping toxins and excessive water in to our earth is going to impact our water supply and earth's inner stability. Proponents of fracking are so short-sighted it is frightening. You might have your jobs now, but your great grandchildren won't have an earth. Think about that Jeff, president of the Colorado Business Roundtable.

Friday, July 18, 2014 | Report this

In response to saveourearth, what is it about the use of hydraulic fracturing being practiced since 1947 without any incidents of water contamination since 1947 that is a bad thing? Bottom line, I believe that any opposition to fossil fuel extraction is a fear that alternatives won't be pushed forward as long as we have the fossil fuel option. Fact is, there is no viable answer to replace the technologies in our lives that make us a 'green' society... yet. We are all working on that answer but in the meantime, why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Yes, the oil and gas industry pumps thousands of gallons of water and sand and less than 0.5% "toxins" into the ground. Most of that is flushed back out and even with all the drilling we've had, LESS and 0.5% of the total water use in Colorado has been used for these practices. If we want to attack water users, look at the 6% of water used for golf courses and other recreation…

As for toxicity, look at the toxins in your dryer sheets (they're far worse than anything used in oil & gas extraction).

Let's do look at the reductions to the CO2 emissions that all that the conversion of power plants from coal to natural gas has resulted in. Hurray for the benefits of natural gas extraction that would not have been possible without fracking. This is a highly emotional topic that nobody is totally right and nobody is totally wrong. At the very least, all the attention has caused the producers to be hyper cautious about their impacts on cities, towns, neighborhoods, and that all needed to happen.

Fact is that all the people working in the industry are people like you. We're your neighbors and we don't want to foul our own environment and certainly not yours. Why does this have to be an all or nothing issue? Let's improve drilling techniques, be good neighbors and just get along. Stop the madness! I think my grandchildren will have an earn (we've been doing this thing that is so bad for our world in your eyes for over 60 years and that's older than me)…

Saturday, July 19, 2014 | Report this

Colorado Business Woman,

The hole in the ozone layer was not discovered until 1985, TEN MILES from the pollutants we started creating on earth 50 PLUS years prior. You are in denial to think what we do below the crust, one mile from our water supply will not impact life on earth. We should only be investing in renewable resources, period. FACT IS...Short-sighted, local-minded people will lead to the demise of our earth as Einstein predicted. I am not just emotional... I am outraged by stupidity.

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | Report this