“At an anti-fracking rally we were holding in Colorado Springs,” stated activist Eric Verlo, “A man pulled over and explained he was so glad there was a group opposed to fracking, he'd come from Pennsylvania where he's had to abandon a rural home because the whole community was spoiled by drilling. He could not overemphasize his incredulity that Colorado Springs would consider allowing fracking here. He was so animated!”
Concerned citizens in Colorado Springs will be holding a rally on Tuesday Jan. 15, 2013, to prevent Colorado Springs from allowing hydraulic fracturing, the vote will commence on Feb. 12, 2013. Verlo explained that the bill is expected to pass and the rally is an attempt to ask the city council to let experts who are not tied into the oil industry comment. Verlo added that the Colorado Springs City Council has held public hearings but the public has not been allowed to add to the discussion.
At the Denver Capitol on Jan. 9, 2013, anti-fracking activists united to call for a statewide ban on fracking in Colo. CS Citizens for Community Rights, Earth Guardians, East Boulder Country United, Fracktivist.com, Occupy Denver, and The Mothers Project were organizations that were in attendance.
After Colorado’s first general assembly of 2013 convened, a petition calling for a statewide moratorium was delivered to the capitol, no acknowledgement has been made by any Colorado officials.
Whistleblower Weston Wilson, who worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for 30 years attended the anti-fracking rally. Wilson became a whistleblower in 2004 when he contended a report by the EPA that stated hydraulic fracturing “poses little or no threat.” Wilson’s letter to Colorado representatives disputed the EPA’s methodology, explaining that hydraulic fracturing fluid was toxic and violated the Safe Drinking Water Act.
In addition to Wilson’s comments, The Guardian recently released an article titled 'Frackademia': how Big Gas bought research on hydraulic fracturing, which posed the question, “Can these industry-funded studies be trusted?” An example the article cited was,
“The State University of New York at Buffalo shut down its shale resources and society institute in November after ‘extensive ties’ were revealed between its researchers and the gas industry.”
The award-winning documentary Split Estate, accentuates issues with hydraulic fracturing companies such as ConocoPhillips and mineral rights. Split Estate highlights instances in New Mexico and Garfield County in Colorado where homeowners have to try to cohabitate with hydraulic fracturing pumps and tanks on their land because they do not own the rights to the minerals under their property.
Garfield county resident Thomas Thompson supported the anti-fracking rally on Jan. 9, 2013, as well. Thompson has explained that hydraulic fracturing on his land has caused significant damage to his property, decreased his property value, and people who visit him often get ill.
Verlo explained that he visited Thompson’s property in Rifle, Colo. to get a sense of what it means to have a fracking well next to your house. “It was a horror story,” Verlo stated, “It was a beautiful part of the country, they retired there, they adopt dogs from the pound and used to take them for walks by the streams but all that is disrupted now from trucks on their property. They have to keep their windows sealed because of all the sand and hazardous vapors and on top of that, a lot of their dogs have died from cancer.”
Verlo relayed that when he examined the tanks that were on Thompson’s property he wore a gas mask and saw instructions for workers stating, "‘Observe the wind socks, don’t park downwind.’ This is very contradictory because these companies are claiming there are no dangers involved with having hydraulic fracturing on someone’s property.”
Dr. Theo Colborn, who founded The Endocrine Disruption Exchange explained in Split Estate that aside from fracking fluid being toxic, fracking releases toxins in the soil such as arsenic that can cause cancer and release volatile organic compounds such as acetone, which can cause
headaches, confusion, and birth defects. Through Colborn’s research she has documented over 200 products used in Colorado hydraulic fracturing. Her research found that over 90% of the containing chemicals “caused adverse health effects.”
In Split Estate, Todd Creeger from ConocoPhillips stated that hydraulic fracturing wells in populated areas have increased employment and that they expect to expand faster than ever in Colorado.
Other facts in the documentary Split Estate:
- Between 2003 and 2008 estimated 1435 spills in Colo. with a quarter of these spills
contaminating surface water in Colo..
- EnCana Oil and Gas was fined after leaking benzene into a creek near Rifle, Colo..
- Oil and gas are exempt from sections of U.S. laws such as the Clean Water Act, Safe
Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.