Letter: What’s News? Not This
September 19, 2018
News flash: In the Sept. 18 Post Independent, Alex Zorn reports the Garfield County commissioners signed a resolution opposing Proposition 112, the ballot issue establishing a 2,500-foot setback for oil and gas drilling and fracking for health and safety reasons. This is not news to those of us who've gone before the county commissioners for years begging them to show some humanity to the residents of Battlement Mesa by restraining the assault on their community by Ursa Resources.
The commissioners are in the pockets of the oil and gas industry. The industry pays the commissioners' campaign expenses. The commissioners would oppose the polio vaccine if the industry told them to.
"I don't see any benefits to this," Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said. That's because he can't see any financial benefits. The health and safety of his constituents is irrelevant. Why are Republican politicians so preoccupied with money? We can't have universal health care because it costs too much.
Jankovsky said Proposition 112 puts "a gun to our head" and "Parachute and Rifle would go into another recession." The gun is to the head of the people who live within a half mile of drilling and fracking. They're the ones whose lives are at stake.
The last local recession in Parachute and Rifle occurred when Exxon-Mobil made a bad business decision resulting in the oil shale bust of 1980. As usual, Big Oil didn't suffer. The people of Parachute and Rifle did.
As is common in today's politics, the commissioners offer no facts to back up their claims. Colorado Rising, the sponsor of Proposition 112, can refer to hundreds of studies showing people who live or work within 2,500 feet of drilling activity experience an increased incidence of health problems requiring hospitalization.
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Meanwhile, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission held a meeting at the Garfield County Sheriff's Annex Building in Rifle on Sept. 17. Ursa Resources plans for well pad A in Battlement Mesa and the Bureau of Land Management's intention to sell oil and gas leases in the picturesque North Fork Valley near Paonia were discussed. Nothing about it in the next day's Post Independent. A case of poor news judgment, I'd say.
Fred Malo Jr.
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