What You’ll Hear vs.
What You Should Know About Fracking.
What you’ll HEAR: A ban constitutes a regulatory taking of oil and gas companies’ rights to develop their property.
What you should KNOW: Longmont citizens have a constitutional right to protect their property and health, and fracking is infringing on those rights. This ban does not take anyone’s property. The oil and gas industry still owns the minerals and they still maintain the right to extract them in a manner that does not infringe upon the right’s of Longmont’s citizens to their property and health.
What you’ll HEAR:The U.S. has been fracking for 65 years.
What you should KNOW: This is NOT your grandfather’s “fracking” method! The multi-well pad, horizontally drilled, high pressure fracturing methods in use today have only been in widespread use for just over 10 years. We are just learning what effects the massive implementation of this new type of fracking has on our health and the environment.
What you’ll HEAR: Fracking is a safe and responsible practice.
What you should KNOW: Oil and gas extraction emits greenhouse gases, smog-inducing compounds and carcinogens causing dangerous health and environmental effects. A University of Colorado study found that people living within as little as a half-mile of wells were exposed to airborne pollutants and cancer causing agents five times greater than federally recommended concentrations. In addition, airborne silica used in fracking operations puts people nearby in danger of silicosis, a lung disease that can develop into lung cancer and is linked to tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney and autoimmune disease. (National Institute for Occupational Safety
and Health (NIOSH) hazard alert). And as for responsibility? Consider the noise and lower quality of life resulting from 24/7 heavy industrial activity, stadium style lighting, and thousands of tanker truck trips for each well.
What you’ll HEAR: Fracking does not contaminate water.
What you should KNOW: Poor well construction, faulty equipment and human error can all result in groundwater spills as well as migration into aquifers. Thousands of cases of water contamination near drilling sites have been documented by courts, states, and local governments. Of 615 Spill/Release Reports filed with the state for Weld County, 47.8% impacted ground or surface water.(Data from the COGCC – Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission). Fracking also takes millions of gallons of municipal water and turns it into liquid waste so toxic it must be disposed of in underground injection wells, taking that water permanently out of the water supply.
Aug. 1, 2009, Mr. Norman Anderson filed a complaint with the COGCC alleging that his water well had been contaminated by fracking operations. The state agreed and fined the Eddy Oil Co. $66,000 for its “contamination of the Laramie-Fox Hills Aquifer by produced gas.” (http://cogcc.state.co.us/orders/orders/1v/349.html)
What you’ll HEAR: Fracking creates jobs & boosts the economy.
What you should KNOW: At what expense? Do those often overblown figures account for the long-term economic damage and the significant erosion of communities’ quality of life that can outweigh those benefits? For example, new wells require over a thousand truck trips per frack, and Longmont citizens would pay for the road repair. Drilling rigs operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, property values are lowered and tourism and recreation industries are harmed.
From the report “Spend, Baby, Spend; How Oil and Gas Controls Colorado” by Ethics Watch: “the United States Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show that as of 2010 (the last year for which complete statistics are available) the oil and gas industry in Colorado accounted for only 2.25 percent of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) and just less than 1 percent of the state’s jobs. This means that oil and gas extraction is not close to being a top industry in Colorado either measured as a percentage of state GDP or in terms of number of jobs created.”
What you’ll HEAR: Colorado has the most stringent regulations in the nation.
What you should KNOW: There are 17 state inspectors of 47,000 active wells in Colorado, meaning even with the regulations in place, most wells are only inspected every five years. Accidents happen and regulations will be cold comfort when one happens next to your home, school, or business or permanently pollutes a body of water.
What you’ll HEAR: We all heat our homes & drive cars, so we have to allow fracking in Longmont.
What you should KNOW: There is an appropriate time and place for everything. We need to carefully balance the benefits of developing oil and gas through fracking with the costs to our health, air, water, and property values. You can’t drink natural gas. You can’t breathe oil. And you can’t make the well go away once it is there.
What you’ll HEAR: Banning fracking is against the law.
What you should KNOW: If we didn’t challenge some laws, we would still have slavery and women wouldn’t be allowed to vote. The Colorado Constitution gives Coloradans certain inalienable rights, including protecting property and living safe, healthy lives. Fracking threatens those rights by diminishing property values, damaging roads, and endangering citizens with air and water pollution. The state of Colorado is squashing local control and our constitutional rights by allowing fracking next to schools, hospitals, churches, public parks and residential areas. We believe that Longmont citizens must defend our constitutional rights to health, safety and property by banning fracking in city limits.
What you’ll HEAR: Greeley already tried a ban and failed. Longmont will fail too, for the same reasons.
What you should KNOW:
The Colorado constitution gives all Coloradans the right to protect their property, and the right to live safe, healthy lives. Fracking violates these constitutional rights by threatening our health, endangering our children, diminishing property values and contaminating our water and air. The ban in Greeley was not based on this constitutional argument. The ban in Greeley was on oil and gas wells; our ban is on only one specific extraction method, fracking. The technology is fundamentally different than when the ban in Greeley was struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court in the 1990′s: multiple (dozens) of wells per pad, horizontal/directional drilling, new and more dangerous chemicals. This new technology has caused immense and fundamental damage.
What you’ll HEAR: The City of Longmont can’t afford a lawsuit.
What you should KNOW: When it comes to the health, safety, and welfare of Longmont’s citizens, can we afford not to protect our property values, families and community from the dangers of fracking? The short term costs of a lawsuit far outweigh the long-term costs of allowing fracking.
What you’ll HEAR: Our Future, Our Health, Our Longmont is backed by “big money” lobbiests and special interests groups.
What you should KNOW:
We have been lucky to have financial and volunteer support from hundreds of dedicated citizens in Longmont who have been generous with their own time and hard-earned money. Right now we are working on a shoestring budget, so any donations – no matter how small – are greatly appreciated. All decisions for the group were and are made by citizen volunteers. We are also grateful to an organization called Food and Water Watch for their advice and support. Food & Water Watch is a consumer advocacy organization that supports communities across the country working to protect their families, neighborhoods and property from the harms of hydraulic fracturing. Food & Water Watch is a non-profit that does not take corporate or government money. They are supporting Our Longmont’s efforts to protect the air and water quality by working to prohibit hydraulic fracturing within city limits. Food & Water Watch’s staff person in Colorado, Sam Schabacker, is from the Longmont area.
Please visit the citizen group website, LongmontROAR.org for additional information on fracking and oil and gas exploration in the City of Longmont. Food & Water Watch also has some excellent resource information on fracking.