Guest opinion: Get involved — let’s leave it in the ground | PostIndependent.com

Guest opinion: Get involved — let’s leave it in the ground

Fred Malo Jr.

Fred Malo Jr.

I attended a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) meeting late last month in Denver with 350 Colorado.

The organization 350 Colorado is part of a national group fighting climate change. The COGCC is a supposed state regulatory agency that has never denied a request to drill. That is the definition of a rubber stamp.

The meeting room was standing room only with people lined up out in the hall. There had to be at least 150 attendees. Oil and gas drilling is obviously the a critical issue to Coloradans, as it should be, considering there are 56,000 wells in this state and the COGCC received more than 1,000 complaints from residents living near fracking this year.

Four hours were devoted to public input. Comments were nearly unanimous for leaving it in the ground. A couple of voices advocated drilling and fracking because it’s part of our energy responsibility, but out and away from all population. There was one representative of Andarko.

Those opposed to drilling and fracking wore surgical masks to emphasize the health risks. Their reasons were public health, inevitable leaks, insufficient setbacks (which the victims of the unconscionable decision to allow drilling and injection wells inside the Battlement Mesa PUD can certainly attest), irresponsible oil and gas company activity, failure to comply with COGCC regulations, lack of transparency and, of course, the catastrophic effects of climate change.

Residents of Broomfield, Boulder and Weld counties were particularly angry about oil and gas drilling being approved in their neighborhoods. Speaker after speaker pleaded with the commissioners to uphold their mission to protect public health and safety. Perhaps in response, the COGCC has postponed drilling in Broomfield County.

Having had many discussions with climate change conscience people in this valley, I wish there could have a larger representation from this area at this meeting.

The commissioners will have public meetings at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Battlement Mesa Activity Center and at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, in the commissioner’s chambers in Glenwood Springs to review Ursa Resources request for natural gas development. Public comment will be welcomed. Additionally, the COGCC will meet again in Denver on Dec. 11 and 12.

It’s time to get involved. The clock is ticking. The effects of man-made climate change are fast approaching the point of no return. I think 350 Colorado is an excellent opportunity to take some action. If you’re interested, contact Jennifer Moore at windwalkerarts7@gmail.com or myself at fredmalo3@gmail.com. We have planning conference call coming up on at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14. Email us for the call-in number to learn how you can get involved.

Fred Malo Jr. lives in Carbondale.