I am responding to a letter to the editor of The Post Independent dated April 6 describing the impact of natural gas exploration in our county as “heartbreaking.”
I also live in the area described by the author as ground zero and my experience has been different than that of the author. I also have done my due diligence regarding the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Ken Salazar, former secretary of the Interior and Colorado senator, recently declared: “I would say to everybody that hydraulic fracking is safe.”
The Western Slope has an opportunity to create a strong economic environment here locally where we need it most. A recent study from the University of Colorado at Boulder concluded that the natural gas industry employs more than 110,000 people across the state, contributes $1.6 billion annually in state and local taxes and generates almost $30 billion in economic activity each year.
Natural gas exploration creates economic benefits throughout the local communities, benefiting the local restaurants, grocery stores, hardware stores and other family owned Western Slope businesses. Additionally, it provides the opportunity for additional positive growth in our communities and creates an environment that can be attractive to additional industries. These impacts can result in more money for schools, infrastructure and other community needs.
We all live here out of a love for the environment. We all want safe drinking water and a safe place for our children to grow up in. It is always incumbent on us to do our due diligence, get the facts and take action to protect our home. Colorado’s state government has adopted some of the strictest regulations in the country to protect our natural environment on our behalf while unlocking the incredible potential of Western Slope gas reserves.
There is a lot of information being spread on the issue of fracking but when you sort through the facts, you will find that when properly regulated, this is a safe process that has been done in Colorado for decades. Simply put, we cannot afford to lose out on this critical industry.