Letter: Reform COGCC to prioritize public health and environment

Battlement Mesa, offers an example of why we need COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) reform and why Senate Bill 181 must pass. Those of you not living near oil and gas development may not realize what this does to a community. Residents are subjected to noise so loud that we can’t carry on a conversation; odors strong enough to drive us out of our homes; lights glaring through our bedroom windows. Sleep becomes impossible.

If SB 181 passes, the COGCC would be required to prioritize public health and safety instead of fostering oil and gas development. Maybe then other communities wouldn’t have to suffer as Battlement Mesa has. Currently, URSA Resources wants to put in a multi-well oil and gas facility 1,000 feet from the Colorado River, directly below a neighborhood situated above the river, and less than 500 feet from seven mobile homes. Additionally, there are 51 homes within 1000 feet from the pad. This “A Pad” includes gas wells and a waste water injection well. It will also include tanks for the disposal of used fracking fluids and contaminated ground water generated by gas development from this and other pads in the area. SB 181 will help to protect our residents and our water not just the oil and gas industry.

God’s dominion is founded upon love and justice; it could never be exploitative or abusive. Drilling everywhere, regardless of where it is or who it harms, is exploitative and destructive. We have fallen away from our duty to care for creation. Why are we unraveling the integrity of creation? How can we be so arrogant to turn our back on God? God loves the world, creation as we know it. To love God, we must also love creation. Christians are called to respect and guard the dignity of creation. When we act justly and love rightly, realizing that each unique thing is wanted and loved by God, we promote the harmony of goodness where the whole of creation gives glory and praise to God. As Christians, we are called on to protect our brethren and God’s creation. We must reform the COGCC in order to prioritize public health and the environment.

Betsy Leonard,


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