Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
After attending the Garfield County Commissioners meeting Monday in RIfle, as a resident of Battlement Mesa I am frustrated that no further money will be spent by the county to bring the Health Impact Assessment to a final form. We came prepared to thank the commissioners for their support, and instead left perplexed.
I feel that leaving it as a draft shows a lack of support for the findings. That would mean our health, safety and welfare are not a great concern to them.
We all know that drilling impacts our quality of life with increased traffic, noise, lights and dust. Now we expect strict mitigations to take place as they get nearer and nearer to us – and we expect the county commissioners to exercise their authority in protecting us – with or without the final report.
The Garfield County Commissioners and the oil and gas community just blew an opportunity to bring the public on board. They could have continued the Battlement health impact study. Their not having the courage to finish the health study suggests to me that they might have something to hide.
I keep trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, that their promises of environmental safety and health issues are to be believed. But when they stop a study that might prove their claims, well, I am very disappointed.
Don’t they want to know if the health news is bad? Don’t they want a baseline to see if we are being harmed or not? Couldn’t they then alter their practices to make them safer?
We need the jobs and the product. But to stop a health study does nothing to gain my trust. This is not how to win over the public. I still want to trust them, but they’re making it very difficult.
I am writing to express my bitter disappointment in the Garfield County commissioners, not only because they stopped work on the Health Impact Assessment, but because they did so without any notice to concerned citizens.
Discussion on the issue was noted as being on the afternoon agenda. Instead, the discussion was held in the morning. This was democracy at its finest.
The commissioners’ job is to protect our health, not to bow to pressure from the oil and gas industry as it gouges its way through our lives (and pockets – let’s not forget the huge profits they are making) and landscape.
Shame on the commissioners.
I want to give a shoutout to the Garfield County commissioners for having the guts to put an end to the “sucking sound” of the Battlement Mesa health study.
Contrary to one of the letters printed in the May 5 Post Independent, Commissioner John Martin did not extend the final report on his own. The commissioners were approached by the Colorado School of Public Health to extend the time frame so that “further research” could be completed.
As a matter of fact, a request by the researchers for another time extension for the final report led to this vote. This was at least the third request of this nature that has been presented by the researchers.
This is typical of academia, to keep finding more to research rather than presenting a conclusion that suggests follow-up research.
It was time to put a stop to their extensions and use what has been learned. Finally, the county acted in a fiscally sound matter, since there will be a severe downturn in county revenues next year.
Editor’s note: The Colorado School of Public Health requested the extension in order to analyze a second round of comments that were approved by the county commissioners.
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