Letters to the Editor

LETTER: Story on fracking leads to questions and more questions

Dear Editor,

In most human endeavors there is risk and reward. People who can only see reward and refuse to consider risk should not be making decisions for all of us. Their expert advice needs to be CARFULLY verified. Those opposed to fracking should not have to prove that fracking IS dangerous. They are the ones who want to mess with Mother Nature. Those who advocate it need to investigate what the risk is, and whether that risk likely to be worth the reward. Then all potentially affected people can decide whether to proceed.

In my 65 years of life I have noticed several “oops” events when profits outweighed public health, until it was too late. Below are my thoughts about some quotes in the Nov. 16, 2012 issue The Colorado Statesman.

Quote: “There has never been a documented case with state health officials of fracking leading to groundwater contamination in Colorado.”

My thinking: What about benzene in the air? What about county health officials? What about outside Colorado? To me the quote is proof of inadequate research.

Quote: Fracking “it’s been around for over 50 years, and we’ve proven multiple times that it is safe and can be done in a way that doesn’t hurt us or our environment.”

My thinking: Given the limited research suggested by the first quote, I have little confidence in THIS quote. Today we are talking about a rapid expansion of fracking. Unless human nature has recently changed, and I didn’t notice, the terms “rapid expansion” and “cutting corners” often go together, especially when money is involved. Fracking is getting closer to populated areas. Is it as safe there as it is in rural areas? This gas isn’t going anywhere by itself. We can take it out of the ground slowly and carefully, being very cautious about clean air and water, which are needs even more basic to life than natural gas.

Quote: “It is the business community’s obligation to stand up for the energy industry in Colorado.”

“We stand together as a business community across the state to support an economic engine in our energy industries,” said Schwenke.

My thinking: It is the obligation of every person who breathes air and drinks water to stand up for these things around the world. I distrust any person who does not include that in their personal list of obligations.

It is great that humans have been fracking for 50 years with no problems. But I assume (hope) it was done slowly and carefully, checking constantly for problems. I also assume it was done where it was the easiest to do it. But logic makes me believe the rapid expansion being planned today will take us into locations where it is harder to do safely. And those involved are being blinded to the “caution” signs by dollar signs.

Let’s extrude and use this gas slowly. Let’s leave some of the gas in the ground for the benefit of our great grandchildren, along with air and water that is healthy.

Quote: There is a photo with story, of a sign saying, “Smarter Rules with Business Sense.”
My sign would say: “Smarter Rules with Public Health Sense.”

Some readers will think this is a message written by a crazy person. They may be right. One of Dad’s hobbies was printing. He cleaned his type and printing press with benzene, in the basement, with limited air circulation. I often printed with him. And as a toddler the crib I chewed on was painted with lead paint. And my dentist often gave kids mercury to play with, the same mercury used in our fillings. We would roll it around in our hands, then ate Twinkies and Ding Dongs. That could explain a lot.

Paul Steinhauer
Denver