LETTER: County cannot think beyond gas
I attended the Garfield Energy Advisory Board on Aug. 1 to listen to the BLM’s air modeling project. Normally you create a model based on scientific algorithms and then test the result of the model. For example, scientists predicted a polar ice melt would cause severe droughts in the U.S. southwest, and lo and behold, the polar ice melted and we have a drought. Currently the BLM does no air monitoring on their land and is relying on their modeling.
These meetings are always very disturbing because I never get the sense that anyone is in control of the drilling activity in Garfield County other than the drillers. There was another spill in a cattle pond where the water had to be replaced. One EAB board member questioned the industry on the design of the piping that released the toxic material and was basically chastised for bringing up the subject. There was sparging of benzene from Parachute Creek. Sparging is the process of bubbling air through the water so the benzene evaporates more quickly. The industry claims it is an EPA approved technique but still moving the carcinogen from the water to the air doesn’t sound correct.
Also attending was a lady who has had serious medical issues, which she thinks comes from the drilling activity around her house, and she reported that her friend was made sick by coming to her house. It did not seem to be taken seriously by the board leaders, at least I saw no followup. It seems that based on past experiences regarding medical problems associated with the toxic fracking fluids that the standard operating procedure by the county would be blood, urine, air and water testing for anyone experiencing medical issues.
In the meantime, the county continues its long-term commitment to natural gas by exploring a new facility to compress natural gas for automotive use. You have heard of the saying that a person whose only tool is a hammer sees everything as a nail. I actually think our county cannot think beyond gas. The earth be damned; full speed ahead.
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