Call for independent study by county

By JoAnn Kalenak


Dear Editor:

At a recent commissioner meeting, staff from Citizen's for a Healthy Community (CHC), a Paonia-based anti-fracking nonprofit, presented their report examining the financial cons behind oil and gas development in the area.

The county was strangely prepared. During constituent time and following a dramatically revised agenda that was posted to the county website at 8:12 a.m. for a meeting that began at 8 a.m. that same morning, several pro oil and gas representatives, county staff and consultants were present and loaded for bear.

David Ludlam, executive director for Colorado Oil and Gas Association, for example, came with a lobbyist-style presentation that strongly criticized -- bordering insult -- CHC's report all while talking about how the oil and gas industry could co-exit with communities.

After almost an hour of discussion, it was clear to me that our county commissioners don't fully understand the economics behind the extraction industry in Delta County, but despite this lack of understanding, they are pro extraction no matter what kind it is or how it may impact residents and our economy.

What was even clearer is that this issue is much too complicated for any single organization to fully and fairly explore, and the county desperately needs to put resources into an in-depth business analysis outlining the pros and cons of extractive development.

I hope that our commissioners will move forward with CHC's request to commission such a study -- one that would take into account all aspects of income and impact without bias or agenda.

JoAnn Kalenak
Hotchkiss