Keep an open mind about gas drilling
September 17, 2012
I’d be thrilled if the gas drillers packed up and left the state.
Two years ago, Encana Oil and Gas put in a pad a couple of miles from my place in Peach Valley, just west of New Castle. Across the Colorado River on Jolley Mesa, there’s a drill rig that lights up the night sky. On Garfield Creek, a well began flaring the other day. I can see these from my kitchen window. I’m concerned about air and water quality and, if the drilling gets closer, light and noise pollution.
On the other hand, I use natural gas to heat my house. It burns clean. It’s not solar, but it’s not coal, either.
And I recognize that that gas has to come from somewhere. If not my frontyard, whose?
So it was with interest that I read Pitkin County commissioner candidate John Young’s Sept. 11 letter to the editor. He chastises his opponent, Steve Child, for stating that “Any energy development has some local environmental impacts, and I am willing to have those in my backyard if they are part of the energy solution of the future.”
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That’s pretty much what I believe.
Young, on the other hand, proposes that the county make it “so tough that gas companies would choose to focus their efforts on less restrictive areas of the state.” Out of sight, out of mind?
Here in Garfield County, right-wing commissioners never met a gas well they didn’t like. Many of us down here would welcome progressive Pitkin County commissioners putting pressure on gas companies to develop the resource in an environmentally responsible way.
There are changes in the wind. The newly appointed director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is a former environmental lawyer, and a bright, innovative guy who takes seriously the commission’s mandate to protect public health. Gas companies recognize it’s in their best interest to clean up their act. And we need the gas – as a bridge to a future of hopefully renewable energy.
Maybe we all need to give a little in our common interest. Maybe a gas rig in Pitkin County wouldn’t be the end of the world.
I commend Steve Child for taking a principled position on a difficult issue.