Letter: Responding to allegations against oil & gas industry | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Responding to allegations against oil & gas industry

Earlier this month, the Free Press printed a letter from Benita Phillips that made a number of outrageous, dishonest, and irresponsible assertions [regarding fracking and Colorado’s oil and gas industry].

She first cites wild and unsubstantiated claims of some obscure agenda-driven researcher, whom she heard once, as justification for risking the livelihoods of thousands of her fellow citizens. The finding she references makes highly dubious links between energy development and health that have neither been scientifically demonstrated nor peer-reviewed. The standard for making public policy, needless to say, must be much higher than that.

Ms. Phillips then insinuated that the Oil and Gas Task Force which met in Rifle in December showed that the oil and gas industry and public were “not on the same page.” The meeting, in fact, demonstrated just the opposite, clear and overwhelming local support for energy development. The “West Slope Way” that Ms. Phillips derides is entirely about cementing that natural cooperation between the community and this important industry. While Phillips would like to paint the issue as an “us-versus-them” scenario characterized by constant conflict, the reality is that the “industry” is not some faceless leviathan, but is comprised of local individuals who safely contribute to the community every day.

The most disturbing allegation Ms. Phillips makes in her letter is that oil and gas is somehow equivalent to terrorism. Ms. Phillips outrageously claims that the state of New York banned fracking because they “know what it is like to catastrophically lose people” since 9-11. New York banned fracking simply for ideological reasons, and because their governor chose to ignore science and disregard the economic well-being of his state and its people. That Ms. Phillips would want the same for Colorado, and would stoop to using the memory of a real national tragedy to hype support for a hypothetical one, is deplorable.

Justin Hemmer

Piceance Energy Action Council

Grand Junction, Colo.

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