Like me, you’ve no doubt been buried under a barrage of anti Proposition 112 propaganda, and the oil and gas industry’s wild, distorted and manipulated numbers. You’ve probably wished you could hear from the pro-112 side. I’m here to give you all the reasons you should resist the industry’s scare tactics and vote “Yes” on Proposition 112.
The first and foremost reason to support Prop 112 is to protect our health, and the health and safety of our family and children. The mountain of scientific, peer-reviewed evidence indicating fracking’s toxic health effects grows almost daily. In Colorado alone, studies in 2012, 2014, and 2017 showed toxic risks for neurological, respiratory, hematological, and developmental health issues, along with a higher risk of cancer. There were also higher risks for babies to be born with neural tube defects and congenital heart defects, along with childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia. While many of these risks are most pronounced within an approximately 1/2 mile radius of high density fracking operations, statistically relevant effects were found at distances up to 10 miles from such operations!
The first and foremost reason to support Prop 112 is to protect our health, and the health and safety of our family and children.
Fracking, and oil and gas operations, also carry the not insignificant risk of fires and explosions, with some officials recommending blast zone evacuation radii of between .8 and 1 mile from operations.
Of course, besides fracking’s harmful effects on Coloradans’ health, safety and welfare, there are also large-scale impacts on our climate and our democracy. International scientists just released a major report on climate change indicating that we have about 10-20 years left before we experience catastrophic effects and the point of no return. A major cause of climate change is the little restricted production and combustion of fracked gas/oil. Already, rising sea levels, supercharged hurricanes, droughts, floods, refugee crises, and more have become the norm. We need to make the connection between the grip the fracked gas/oil industry has on our society, media and government, and the environmental crises that grip is causing and bringing.
I say “little restricted” because, although fracking operators have to comply with many rules and regulations in the permitting process, we have been unable to find even one instance where the state regulatory agency, the COGCC, has denied a fracking permit application. If such a toxic, heavy industrial operation is to be so routinely rubber-stamped by the state agency charged with representing our best interests, there must be buffer zones between it and our homes, schools, and families.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, direct Colorado employment for the logging and mining sector averaged only about 29,000 jobs for the first seven months of 2018, 1% of our entire state labor force, and a far cry from the 200k plus numbers used in some industry ads. Many, if not most, of the employment numbers the industry and its spokespeople claim are for temporary, out of state workers, or for jobs only marginally or whimsically connected to the industry. Furthermore, jobs in solar and other renewables, which are far more sustainable and safe for both workers and neighbors, now outnumber those in oil and gas, are increasing at a faster pace, and have far greater long-term potential for tax revenues and the state’s economic health.
Modern fracking uses horizontal drilling that can drill out a mile and a half laterally underground. New technologies, such as “super laterals,” will soon allow frackers to drill extreme distances, measured in multiple miles, from their well pads. There will be much rural and government land still available to them in Colorado, and operators will still be able to access double-digit cubic miles of underground territory from each multi-well pad. We shouldn’t have to accept fracking right next to our homes, schools, playgrounds, and neighborhoods. Please consider all the facts closely, and do your own research, being careful to avoid the many, many industry front groups out there. I’m confident that, like me, you’ll support and vote for Proposition 112.
Harv Teitelbaum is a supporter of Colorado Rising and leads the Beyond Oil and Gas Campaign for Sierra Club Colorado.
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