More to drilling than just fracking
Presuming that Governor John Hickenlooper is right and the natural-gas business is a blessing for Colorado and that fracking is well controlled, there is a side of this industry that needs serious new state control.
That is the extraction of sand and gravel for roads and drill pads. Some counties (such as Garfield) believe it is a necessary and essential element of the industry and do not put tough constraints on it.
The result in the case of Garfield County is the devastation of the Colorado River – minimal restoration, destruction of trees and fields and the complete destruction of critical ecosystems and loss of habitat for multiple species. Some counties such as Pitkin County care deeply for their streams and rivers and as a result, implement rigid controls on the sand and gravel industry.
I believe the time has come for the state to initiate and implement strong controls on this industry for the benefit of all its citizens. One idea could be the requirement of a state restoration bond to ensure that the gravel mining sites are properly restored once a site is mined out. After all, the magnificent streams and rivers of Colorado belong to all of us. They are our arteries and veins, and like a human, we cannot allow any link to become clogged or devastated without affecting the whole.
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