Monday, January 7, 2013

Oil-Gas Frackers in Colo. Seek to Muzzle Citizen Testimony

Imagine waking up every morning to dusky brown water spewing from your taps, burning eyes, a wracking cough, and nausea so bad you can't eat. And then barfing after you try to use the water by resorting to a purifier- thereafter resigning your self to the expensive bottled variety. This is now the lot of thousands of Coloradans unfortunate enough to be living near oil and gas fracking operations. Worse, if the industry gets its way, they will not be able to breathe one word about any of it in any upcoming hearings!

The industry currently is gathering its forces to block any testimony of witnesses, i.e. people affected by the fracking operations. This extends to any and all oral or written disclosures related to fracking operations,  whether their ongoing health problems from the fracked water and air, or the constant noise that bombards them, disrupting their lives. According to the industry in papers filed, the witness testimony can't be trusted because it is only "hearsay" and so therefore must be barred from admission. According to one of the fracking victims (Denver Post, Sunday, p. 6A):

"The industry objections are made in bad faith. Every impacted person should have the opportunity to speak and we need to make a greater effort in collecting more robust data."

Another affected resident, Kaethe Williams, quoted in the article, said:

"Nobody wants to be here. It's dangerous not just to the animal but to people."

The industry's solution, as related by Williams? Well, to "leave their homes for a few hours each day" to get better air or avoid the noise. Jesus Christ in a can, and go WHERE? To a park in Denver where they will likely get mugged by gang bangers?  Williams added that "it's in the air all the time, we are breathing that."

As if this wasn't bad enough, the news in today's Denver Post is that the state proposal for water testing now plans to be very limited. For one thing, it would not apply to more than 25% of wells, or to the tanks, pipelines and other production facilities that are frequent sources of leaks.  Naturally, environmental groups have called the state proposals a farce.

According to Dan Grossman, regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund: "The rules for testing would be the worst in the nation adopted thus far."

Further, beyond the major exemptions, it allows the oil & gas industry to "cherry pick" the water sources they want for sampling, according to Grossman.

The bottom line in all this is that the state of Colorado appears quite willing to let its citizens be afflicted with COPD, aggravated asthma, as well as numerous cancers from the fracking-befouled water.  The question is whether the state will also be ready to pay for the costs of treatments of these conditions when the bills come due.

Or will they say - a la Mittens Romney - that citizens have to "bear their own personal responsibility"?

In which case citizens can reply: "Okay! So then will you pay me fair value for my home?"

No comments: