LETTER: Impacts on locals from natural gas drilling are heartbreaking
I worked on the Well Watch research information gathering project after conducting my own “grass roots,” if you will, nonfunded research project.
My research led me to write a book titled “Collateral Damage,” and I also had involvement in two Emmy award documentary films probing the subject at that same time.
I was and still am a citizen of Garfield County, Colorado, in my view the unfortunate epicenter of a large natural gas boom about seven years ago as a result of the advances from the Cheney loophole that exempted slick water hydraulic fracturing chemicals from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
In the last year specifically — due to personal circumstances that have allowed me ample time to do followup research with the case study participants with whom I had involvement and served primarily as the liaison/submitter and clearer/validator of the logged Well Watch reports for the a said individuals — I gathered updated data, two years after the funded MIT study ended. The results are staggering.
As an often independent and unpaid researcher, who also happens to live in fear on the edge of ground zero, I must confess that as I continue to monitor, watch and, when I have the time, report on my impacted and suffering neighbors who live on the doorstep of industrial full blown natural gas exploration here in my county, it is heartbreaking.
Beyond the pale.
And my heartbreak has no geographical boundaries either; irregardless of which or what project these impacted landowners (and now dear friends of mine, in the most part) have been part of, these people are now my closest friends in an odd way. It is similar to having survived a disaster, as in a PTSD event, but this situation is different in that it is a slow and stealthy and evil enemy with all the power of money and corrupt lobbyists behind it to bend the laws that pretend to oversee this intrusive and destructive industry.
I watch and document and absorb the fact that my old allies and impacted neighbors are fleeing in order to save their health, or even worse, I watch as they are increasingly sickened by the impacts and chemical off-gassing of the wells that surround and pollute their farm homes.
On a personal note, I will say, even as a nonpaid researcher currently, it is devastating to watch these events unfold and attempt to document them even at the most pedestrian level too often more than not — too late to help.
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