Drilling a nasty business | AspenTimes.com

Drilling a nasty business

The BLM is finally set to release its long-awaited recommendation on the issue of allowing drilling permits on the top of the Roan plateau. A ninety-day period of public input will ensue before a decision will be made. That doesn’t allow the citizens of a community very much time to get organized and speak with a large enough and loud enough voice that it will be heard by those who hold decisions in their hands.

This decision is so important, with such long ranging effects, that it must address the needs of all for whom the transformation of the Roan plateau will have an impact. That includes every man, woman, and child in the valley. Every hunter, every fisherman, every cross country skier, snowmobiler, hiker, birdwatcher, photographer, mountain biker, naturalist, rancher, horse rider, or picnicker that will ever want to enjoy or use what is now the magnificent environment that sits atop the Roan plateau.

Oil and gas development is industrial development, plain and simple. It is noisy, polluting, 24 hours a day, non-stop digging, drilling, hoisting, pumping, backfilling, nasty business. It smells bad. It is toxic. It is dangerous. The recent catastrophe in the gas fields of southern China is a display of the industry at its most tragic; hundreds dead and injured when a gas well ruptured. At its best, the industry can be a nuisance. At its worst, it can be deadly.

The Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources estimates that the gas industry will make $22 billion dollars from the sale of the gas found under the Roan. A very small percentage of that money will be spent here. The rest will go to the coffers of out-of-town corporations. The miniscule, temporary, economic benefit to our motels, restaurants, and a few landlords will be dwarfed by the losses suffered by the tourism, hunting, ranching, real estate, home building, and retail industries.

I would like to ask every citizen of Garfield County to do three things. First, load up your spouse and kids or a couple of friends and take a drive up on Grass Mesa, or Hunter Mesa, or Mamm Creek. Witness what full-blown, relentless gas development looks like. Second, ask yourself if what you see there belongs in the pristine forest on top of the Roan plateau. Third, when you ask yourself what you can do to help prevent that from happening, join the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance.

The GVCA has been fighting for the rights and welfare of local citizens and landowners for over seven years, and is dedicated to preventing natural gas development on the top of the Roan plateau. Please help us. Visit http://www.saveroanplateau.org or call 970-876-0430. Time is running out. Do it now. Thank you.

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Duke Cox

Silt, CO

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