Printed Letters: August 23, 2017
BLM, reconsider Fram drilling proposal
The residents of the city of Grand Junction are fortunate to get their drinking water from an absolute pristine source — the watershed that begins high up on the slopes of Grand Mesa. There are no previous users of that water, and it is a steady source of clear, clean water from snowmelt and rain.
That could change, however, with the latest proposal from FRAM Oil to drill.
After city residents signed petitions and insisted on more protections for their water, the City Council passed a watershed ordinance in 2006 after Genesis Oil and Gas proposed drilling in the city’s watershed. Now FRAM is proposing to drill and frack 108 gas wells from 12 well pads just outside the watershed boundaries.
There will be impacts to residents from this industrial activity so close to the city. Oil and gas development can contribute to air pollution by emitting volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that combine with sunshine, causing ozone. Additional truck traffic and road building to well pad sites contribute to higher levels of PM 2.5, which are tiny particulate matter that aggravate respiratory illnesses in children and the elderly.
My biggest concern, however, is for our water. While I understand that companies want to be good stewards, oil and gas development is an industrial activity, and accidents, spills, and well blowouts do happen. The proposal calls for 22 year-round jobs created by this project. Yet the watershed supports fresh drinking water to 60,000 residents, ranchers, livestock, and numerous wineries. If our main water source were polluted, there are no good alternatives. I believe the trade-off is too great to risk our main source of clean drinking water.
The BLM is accepting comments until Aug. 28 on this proposal. I urge residents to stand up once again for clean water and air, and urge the BLM to reconsider this proposal, to require a complete Environmental Impact Statement, and to move those wells further away from the watershed boundaries.
You can send your comments to:
Attn: Whitewater MDP
2300 River Frontage Road
Silt, CO 81652
City must go back to drawing board on downtown parking
Earlier this week a friend and I met downtown for coffee. I pulled into the parking lot behind the Rockslide and was horrified to find that it would cost me $1 in coin to park for 1 hour and 20 minutes. This is not enough time to do anything downtown and certainly not enough time for two women to enjoy a fine coffee and chat.
Tourists staying at the downtown hotels have hotel parking. Some neighborhood residents can walk downtown. I don’t live within walking distance for a woman my age (almost 81). A park card only allows 1 hour and 20 minutes and I don’t have one. I don’t know if I could have plunked in more change when I parked. I figured I would probably just lose it to the city. The cost of a parking ticket is one heckuva tax to locals wanting to go downtown during the day and patronize the various merchants.
Furthermore, does anyone realize how difficult it is to gather parking meter change in this nearly cashless society? I have a cell phone but it does not accommodate the parking program.
Go back to the drawing board as respects downtown parking before the downtown area is finally killed.
Western Colorado Congress calls foul on drilling project
This past week Western Colorado Congress took several individuals, members of the community and media to the skies to survey the proposed land for the Fram Whitewater oil development project. I find it ironic that a group which continually protests and tries to block responsible oil and gas development projects in our region hopped in an airplane and burned 100 gallons of fuel in an effort to battle yet another economic driver in our area.
The Fram project is expected to produce 8.7 million barrels of oil in the next two decades and produce more than 70 jobs in a depressed economic market. WCC continues to call foul on this project, claiming their first concern is its closeness to the Grand Junction watershed, despite the fact Fram has removed all drilling locations from the watershed area.
During a recent television interview about the Fram project, a WCC spokeswoman claimed their group is not an anti-oil and gas group. Really? They consistently team up with the Sierra Club and groups like them. They have an entire section on their website titled “Gasfield Justice” and just last year they created a map which they refer to as the “Oil and Gas Threat Map.” If they’re a friend to the industry, I’d hate to see what an enemy looks like!
No matter where oil and gas development goes, their minds seem to be made up — they want to keep it in the ground. Their recent eco flyover was nothing short of an ironic publicity stunt to call attention to the project ahead of the BLM public commenting deadline.