Printed letters, August 8, 2013

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Georgia Hopper states that “environmentalists are using “hearsay and fear tactics” to stop oil and gas development in our county.  I say to Georgia, Please give me a scientifically based peer-reviewed long term study to review, that supports the how oil and gas development cleans the air, is good for ground water and aquifers, supports the health of agricultural soils and promotes the health of humans and wildlife where it takes place.  As a Registered Nurse, having Nursed in the oil and Gas patch in Saudi Arabia; I have cared for Veterans from the first Gulf War (Saddam burned the oil wells), it has been my direct and up front experience that the industry has problems with being responsible for the health and safety issues they face.  If we are to have drilling in Mesa, the public should NOT have to prove the detriments to our environment, but the industry should prove to the public they can do it right.  Parachute Creek is not a good example of neighborly responsibility. This community needs to have this conversation.  If Fram does not do this right, Fram as a Norwegian company, can withdraw and disappear in case of a disaster. What will those jobs be worth to this community then.  It only takes one shortcut too many (Exxon Valdez); one worker too tired (Buzzard Creek); one piece of equipment not in good working order(Parachute Creek); one wrong decision; one action taken under financial pressure (Deep Horizon) and there is no turning the clock back.  Nancy Angle wrote a logical and reasonable ask: preservation of our Air shed.  She is a retired math instructor from CMU, and someone changed her math on her letter.  A “round trip” is 2 passes of any one point by trucks thereby those trucks will pass by that one point once every 10 minutes not 20 minutes.  Someone at the paper changed it to 20 minutes.  Is that an innocent mistake?  This county needs this meeting tonight and others in the near future. We are a community that has to have this conversation NOW.  Come to the meeting tonight Georgia.

In response to Georgia Hopper’s letter:
This is called “quibbling”, meaning you state something (or what is technically believed particular for the case), but it avoids the complete picture of actual happenings. It tries to take a small segment as representative of the complete event.
When a statement as, “fracking has not been shown to contaminate an aquifer” it is couched in hidden meaning with many facets. To list:
1. The industry (and anyone repeating this statement) is narrowing the meaning of fracking to the operation on the gathering side of the cement seal on the production piping.
2. Cement seal failure, allowing by-pass of gas, fracking fluid, and formation water into the annulus surrounding the production pipe is excluded from being due to fracking. It is because the cement was designed to hold against fracking pressure and if it didn’t it wasn’t the “fault” the fracking, it was poor mix, surrounding formation failure, poor workmanship, or anything but not the high hydraulic pressure of the fracking.

The EPA has made careful selection of certain select failures only, when water has been contaminated. The EPA refused to investigate the Divide Creek contamination in Garfield County, Colorado as an example. Found contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming, but has backed off and stepped away from in-depth testing under political and industry pressures. Yielded, ignored findings and backed off in the Dimock, Pennsylvania water contaminations.
There has been no testing of cases “settled” by industry with complete gag orders on people receiving those gag orders. Duke University has made several studies other than the one cited. In those involving shallower depths of drilling and fracking, they found increased methane in wells, as did studies in Garfield County by Dr. Thyne and URS Engineering.
In consideration of the overall picture, it has been documented water contamination has occurred, the quibbling is about whether it was the hydraulic pressure of fracking that caused it or well building technique and failure. Even if it were only well failure, as Dr. Anthony Ingraffea has shown, 6% of wells fail immediately, 60% fail within 20 years, and all will fail eventually.

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