Fair and Balanced?

At the Board of Trustees meeting on September 11, 2018, the Board undertook discussion on a proposed ad-hoc oil & gas committee brought forth by Trustee Woog during his mayoral campaign. Several of the statements I made during my opening statement were subsequently taken out of context; let me clarify as to why I’m not interested in a “balanced” committee and no longer interested in hearing from pro-fracking extremists.

The industry has most of the power. Protect Colorado raised over $40 million dollars to oppose Colorado Rising‘s Proposition 112. Vital for Colorado spent $55,000 to support candidates in Erie’s 2018 municipal election. Extraction Oil & Gas uses SLAPP lawsuits to quash protest. Industry-paid protestors interfered with Initiative 97’s signature gathering efforts. The COGCC has never denied a permit. Every single one of hundreds of noise and odor complaints filed with the COGCC regarding drilling sites in and around Erie were dismissed.

Given the balance of power weighs so heavily in favor of the industry, I see no reason to give their representatives an additional voice in the Town of Erie, much less equal representation on an ad-hoc committee.

Their claims border on the preposterous. In a letter of support for the fifth draft of Crestone Peak Resources’ Boulder Comprehensive Drilling Plan,  Liberty Oilfield Services CEO Chris Wright said that “since … 1859, global human life expectancy  has more than doubled, in large part due to oil and gas.” The pro-fracking extremists at Energy In Demand believe the increase in hydraulic fracturing is responsible for reductions in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and fine particulate matter. They’ve even suggested that fracking helps tourism. However, correlation does not imply causation.

Their business model is unsustainable. Extraction Oil & Gas stock hit an all-time low of $0.92 in on February 14, 2020. Previously, it had hit numerous 52-week lows in the last year, in part because its RSI dropped below 30, marking it as oversold. Bank of the West will no longer fund fracking operations.

They’ve had nothing constructive to say. Over the last 4 years, if I’d heard any expression of sympathy for those disproportionately affected by residential drilling or a single suggestion with potential corrective actions for the operators, I’d still have some hope. Instead, I’ve been the target of smear campaigns, derisive comments, expletives, and vulgarities on social media. At one community meeting, I had one industry employee suggest that it was inconceivable that fracking fluid contained hundreds of ingredients because there was no way you could make brownies in your kitchen with hundreds of ingredients. They claim fracking has been done safely for 40 years, but admit that horizontal fracturing has only really been around since 2009.

Actions speak louder than words; if these oil & gas supporters had any intention of helping to ease the plight of those affected by residential drilling, they’d have done it already.