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Letter: County infamous for its destruction of the environment, people’s health

The following is in response to Mr. Kent Jolley’s letter on June 26.

Mr. Jolley, it wasn’t “nerve” that Michael Brune was displaying when he came to Garfield County; it was knowledge.

Garfield County is rather infamous for its destruction of the environment and people’s health in the past and currently. Documentaries have been made and continue to be made on the personal and environmental price of gas extraction. Mr. Brune, the “thug,” as you called him, was expressing the known facts that the gas industry has destroyed lives and property not just in Garfield County but also throughout Colorado and the country. The Sierra Club’s focus is on protecting and conserving national sites such as the Roan Plateau from the ravages of industrialization the gas and oil development bring. One only needs to look at the gravel pits, roads, pipelines, processing plants and well pads to see the breadth of industrialization that has covered western Garfield County.



But this is not the real story. The real story is people. Some folks have benefited but many have lost their health and well-being. Some have sold their water rights while driving the cost of water up for the agricultural community; truckers make money hauling off the contaminated water to be dumped in a well, hopefully to never reach the surface again. Some people have left their devalued homes and moved rather than be subjected to the poisonous environment that develops around many drilling sites.

Garfield County has seen nuclear bomb stimulation of gas in the ’70s, the failed Exxon project of extraction and processing of shale oil in the ’80s, 10,000 fracked gas wells currently, and now even the possibility of in-situ extraction of shale oil, all in the name of economic development.



The question still remains. Should we risk the destruction of our natural environment, people’s well-being and further global climatic change to benefit global energy companies who may well export their product to other countries or should we accelerate the greatest movement in our lifetime: the move to non-exportable renewable energy resources?

Tom Rutledge

Glenwood Springs


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