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Don’t sacrifice region for energy policy without a conscience

Thank you for your informative piece (“Hitting a Gusher” series on natural gas drilling, June 15-18).

I have lived in Garfield for 30 years and watched the “quality” of life slowly diminish ecologically, especially in the major river valleys.

I simply cannot imagine the impact of another 10,000 wells. Even if they are directional, the environmental impact is enormous and potentially devastating if hydraulic fracing is used.



The gas industry, as we have seen, has no problem using a “witches’ brew” of industrial chemicals and God knows what else pumped into bore holes to “release” the gas reserves stored underground. The resultant contamination of groundwater lasts for years, even decades, and reduces property values to zilch.

Does anyone remember the allowed use of nuclear underground explosions, one of which was near Rulison, to frac the underground gas reserves, which resulted in highly radioactive natural gas? Which genius at the national level setting policy thought up that twisted plan? And that was the “best” thinking in the ’70s ” God help us now, because those same ivory-tower geniuses are at work now on national energy policy!



And I might ask, who is buying those radioactive reserves at this very moment and where is the radioactivity ending up after the gas is burned? It does not take much, only one radioactive particle, to change the normal arrangement of genetic material, and voila, we have created a whole vast new area of collateral damage to our quality of life.

We had decent air and water pollution safeguards at one time, but “legal” loopholes have been created in the energy bill to exempt the industry from liability in this regard. If this is not a very clear indicator of intention on a national level of official policy, I don’t know what is.

I have also heard stories of using salt solutions to recover the remains of oil reserves in Oklahoma, and that has resulted in widespread contamination of groundwater.

A public outcry and protest to protect the environment in all ways possible is absolutely necessary. Yes, it is growing, but people must act now, without delay, because when the quality of life is gone, the local people and environment suffer terribly, and when the quality is gone, it’s gone.

Why should we be asked to sacrifice what we have enjoyed environmentally for an energy policy that has no conscience ” an energy policy that is based only on public consumption and corporate greed.

Stephen Smilack lived in the Carbondale area for 25 years, Basalt for six and is building a healing retreat center in Crestone.


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