Today I am writing you to call upon the BLM to let leases within the Thompson Divide expire. While I don't challenge the legality of leases held within the Thompson Divide, I believe it is time to let these leases end in an unchallenged and legal manor.
Oil and gas leases are auctioned off by the BLM under the condition that efforts are undertaken to develop the lease within 10 years. If you undertake exploration and development efforts you're able to retain the lease. If you fail to begin development within 10 years, however, you lose it.
SG Interests, a Texas-based developer, failed to move forward with developing their leases, in the Thompson Divide, for the first 9-plus years. These leases expire in May. Now, in the 11th hour, they've applied for suspensions to "stop the clock" on their leases. Unfortunately, suspension requests are usually given a rubber-stamped approval by the BLM without a vigorous public dialogue process.
We all know where and what the Thompson Divide is. We all, also, know what terminal devastation the oil companies leave behind.
Everything possible must be done to make sure the leases expire, therefore save this unique pristine area. It must be kept: "Forever Wild."
I urge interested members of the public to attend the Pitkin County Commissioners for public meeting about the issue of drilling in the Thompson Divide. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Carbondale Town Hall. This is our chance to stand as a community to voice a common belief: Let the leases expire.
Every moment of life involves (at least some) risk. What level is acceptable to you? Are barbecues, minivans or crosswalks OK? If so, you may want to include natural gas wells.
FRACT: A late model gas well produces less than 1 percent of the emissions and toxins, annually, than the average family car does, but is exponentially less likely to cause any serious injury.
FRACT: The state averages more than 10 bicycle deaths per year, 100 pedestrian, 500 auto fatalities (3,000 injuries) and less than one due to natural gas operations.
FRICTION: "Asthma and respiratory illness are caused directly by NG wells." False. Asthma.com describes asthma as a chronic, often hereditary disease. Symptoms are many thousand times more likely to be caused by pollen, pets, smoke, dust and auto emissions.
FRACT: An estimated 100,000 more chemical/oil spills occur in restaurants and auto repair shops every year than in the production of natural gas.
FRICTION: "We have dangerously high levels of air and water pollution due to oil and gas operations." False. Denver air is actually cleaner than 37 of the top 50 metros, and local water supplies show virtually no incursions from wells or fracking.
FRACT: NG powered electric plants and automobiles are more than 10 times cleaner than coal and gasoline versions.
FRACT: Energy will be at the heart of the world's future economy. Colorado's rich natural gas supplies will provide citizens of our state with a better economic outlook, lower tax burdens, far more employment opportunities and less expensive, clean energy.
There is plenty of spin, misinformation and one-sided "Internet fact" out there meant to complicate the issue. As you can see, it's easier to understand when put in the context of our everyday lives. If fracking and NG wells are 100 times safer than crosswalks and the family car, and If eliminating risk was really the goal, shouldn't political activists call for a ban on minivans, pot smoke and barbecues? Perhaps those are next when telling us how to live our lives.
Joe Wilson, mayor