Scott Balcomb’s comments in the Post Independent’s Jan. 5 “blame game” article were rhetoric unsupported by fact.
New regulations haven’t slowed oil and gas development. Any local slowdown resulted from economic recession, a glut of natural gas on the market, and low natural gas prices.
Nationwide gas production was higher than ever in 2010. The amount of stored gas nationally also neared all-time highs.
In 2008 gas prices hovered around $8 per tcf. In 2009 prices dropped to around $3.50 per tcf. The late 2010 price was still $3.50 per tcf.
Too much production, too much storage, and low prices caused the slowdown, not regulations. Pulling the curtain back on industry’s charade reveals that overdrilling more than overregulation is the problem.
In truth, Colorado is faring better than other states regardless of regulations.
Since new regulations took effect in 2009, Colorado outpaced neighboring states in oil and gas activity significantly. Colorado issued nearly 6,000 permits in 2010, the third highest number in history and substantially more than neighboring states.
In 2010 Colorado had an average of 70 drill rigs operating, nearly twice the number operating in ’09. For comparison, Wyoming had 40 rigs operating on average in 2010.
Locally, Garfield County issued the third most drilling permits in history during 2010. That is the second highest number doled out by any Colorado county.
Garfield County is right to reject Balcomb’s threat that the county must stop protecting air, land, water, and the health of its citizens. That is exactly what the county is supposed to do.
Industry threatening to take their ball and leave unless the county agrees to their every whim and desire is the posturing of single-minded profiteers. It just isn’t true.
Industry is going to be in Garfield County and Western Colorado for a long time because there is lots of gas here. But, unless we have strong protections in place that are ably enforced, our health and environment will suffer.
When that happens, we all lose.
conservation analyst/staff attorney
To address Ms. Arneson and Mr. Perrin, get over yourselves.
The gas drilling is new to neighborhoods in the past five or so years; it was not here when most people moved to Battlement Mesa. I ask you how long have you lived here? Has your family farmed and ranched here for more than 100 years?
And it sure sounds like you guys are benefiting financially from the drilling, good for you, but not all people want toxic fumes, the noise and dust and desemated property values.
Most informed people are not against drilling, but does it have to be where people live? Most who live in Battlement Mesa retired there because of the lifestyle, mild weather and quiet neighborhoods. They are not all oil riggers.
And, yes, I think if you spoke with people who have lived there more than a few years, they are against having drilling right in their front yards.
We are not ignorant people to think that this resource doesn’t need to be harvested, most of us use natural gas to heat our homes, but let’s do it responsibly. Go out speak with your neighbors and see how they feel, I think you will be surprised by the number of people who are against drilling in neighborhoods.
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