I am writing this letter today in an attempt to gain support for strengthening the regulations that control oil and gas development on thousands of acres of public land in the North Fork Valley. The best way to protect this land is by supporting the North Fork Alternative Plan.
This is a community proposal that I am involved in that will protect the resources here that we all care about.
Currently the BLM is considering leasing thousands of acres of public lands around our towns, farms and ranches for such development. These leases have been deferred, but not taken off the table. I believe an informed public would want the resources that we value in this valley protected from irresponsible drilling.
In areas of Colorado where resources were not protected, such as Weld and Garfield counties, and in Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas, water has been lost or contaminated, roads are clogged with heavy truck traffic, scenic areas are destroyed, and crime and air pollution have dramatically increased.
The quiet rural lifestyle, which many of us value in Delta County, was simply lost forever in those other places.
I invite the readers to do an Internet search to see how rural life has been affected by the oil and gas industry. See what happened to Rifle, Parachute and De Beque.
My family homesteaded around Greeley in Weld County where there are over 17,000 wells with more going up as I write. As a rural property realtor for 22 years in that area, I have witnessed property become unsellable or decline in value as oil and gas development increased. This happened even during the real estate boom years, as the rural landscape became industrial and unfit to live in.
It can take millions of gallons of water, along with undisclosed chemicals, pumped into the ground to frack a single well. Thousands of truck trips are required to deliver this water to each site.
Where does this water come from? Do you feel we have enough? The bottom line is this: if you own water rights they can be put in jeopardy and in some cases lost when drilling comes to town.
And what about contaminating our groundwater? Do an Internet search for the Bloomberg News article "Methane in Water Seen Sixfold Higher Near Fracking Sites." The article talks about a new study from Duke University that shows higher contamination in water wells closer to drill sites. What kind of future are we making for ourselves and our kids where all this water is getting ruined?
Oil and gas employees are not local. They can come from out of state and are temporary during development. Wells projected to have a 30-year life, more commonly have a five-year life. What is left behind?
Look into the lives of our neighbors before you think that oil and gas development in the North Fork Valley will have a positive effect on your life. We have something special in Delta County and we can't gamble it away on oil and gas drilling.