The Pitkin County commissioners last week came to Carbondale for a town hall meeting to talk about drilling in the Thompson Divide. There were hundreds there, spilling out onto the sidewalks in unanimous opposition to piercing this delicate high country.
One high school student in the audience made a clear and compelling argument against drilling in this place and then went on to ponder if any of the decision makers both in the audience and in distant offices would be moved by or even hear what the group was clearly saying: No. Not here.
There are countless examples of the rulers denying the will of the people, especially in Garfield County, but this gathering of ranchers, residents and recreationalists inspired hope that we may be able to stand strong against a mighty beast.
It will be an uphill climb to save Thompson Divide. Our very own Gov. Hickenlooper called fracking fluid “a benign fluid in every sense.” He went so far as to claim to have taken a “sip” of Halliburton fracking fluid.
What Hickenlooper didn’t tell you is that the fracking juice that he pressed to his lips was made of stuff “sourced from the food industry.” What he didn’t initially reveal is that no one in Colorado is using this food industry fluid for fracking. They are using diluted, yet highly toxic chemicals. When these chemicals come back up they have collected more nasties from underground, which makes it even less drinkable.
If the governor had taken a sip of the real thing he’d probably be hooked to a life support machine right now. This is the kind of deceit we are up against. Our own top representative is drinking and then serving us the Halliburton Kool-Aid, essentially misinforming the public on a really important subject, namely our health.
Last week Silt Mayor Dave Moore rolled out the welcome mat for executives from Ursa Resources Group II, LLC which now holds rights and rigs on the Piceance Basin. Moore spewed out the latest round of nonsense and misdirection when he claimed that recent air monitoring results clears the air about oil and gas industry impacts.
Of course there are impacts. To deny them is to take us for fools and that’s not OK, mister mayor.
One problem with the air monitoring study is that it was performed miles away from drilling activity and in carefully selected locations.
Ask the people living in proximity to wells and drilling about their air and you will hear a totally different story about the air quality.
Dogs are dropping dead and people are getting sick from the carcinogens and the exhaust and the spills and the flaring and the methane.
Sick locals are often met by industry mouthpieces issuing blanket statements claiming that there is no scientific evidence to support people’s dead dog claims.
There may be no scientific evidence. They are not looking for scientific evidence that the industry is poisoning us. Why would they do that? They are barking up the wrong tree on purpose and elected reps are on the leashes.
If Silt or the county or the industry really want us to know how the air is near drilling activity it will place monitors in proximity to drilling operations, starting with a realistic baseline and then release the results. Put some monitors along one of those dusty roads near some low rent housing and drilling rigs, and bring us your findings.
Who wants to buy the company line at the expense of our environment? If you were at that meeting in Carbondale last week you know that not many of us here are willing to buy the Kool-Aid, never mind drink it, even if it is served in a compostable cup by our very own governor. Not the hunters, ranchers, farmers, hikers, business people or retirees. No one here is buying it.
Steve Skinner hopes the Thompson Divide leases will be allowed to expire. You can find out more at savethompsondivide.org.