Fracking puts our watershed at risk

By Lisa Niermann

Dear Editor:

David Ludlam's recent opinion piece (Eco-snobbery reveals contradictions and false choices) in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel could be parody if not for real consequences that fracking, drilling and transport pose to the North Fork. Today it's our small farming community that is the sacrifice zone; tomorrow it might be your child's playground or a retirement community. So, what comes across as petulant noise from Mr. Ludlam is just a tactic to minimize legitimate concerns of Coloradans.

Ludlam, the director of the Western Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA) calls us, in one of the poorest counties in Colorado, "eco-snobs" and "affluent" people who view our watershed as "a convenience." Oil and gas drilling, and particularly fracking, pollutes water, air, and soil, and threatens public health. It impacts community infrastructure and services in ways that impose a multitude of costs on residents, farms, and businesses. Real snobbery is implying Western Slope residents don't know the difference between opinion and fact, and that we should just blindly buy what any snake oil salesman is peddling.

As a farmer in the North Fork, I take exception to an industry that twists the truth about the benefits and safety of this activity in our watershed, which feeds the North Fork, into the Gunnison, and eventually the Colorado River. Fracking risks all this, and along with it, Delta County's investments in an economy based on organic agriculture, tourism, recreation and quality of life. Water is of supreme importance in our arid climate. reports that in 2017 fracking operations in Mesa County alone used 302,000,000 gallons of water. That water can never be returned to the hydrologic cycle, because it is too poisoned for other uses. We all rely on clean water, Mr. Ludlam included. "A convenience for the affluent," indeed.

Lisa Niermann