For the health and safety of our community | AspenTimes.com

For the health and safety of our community

I like to use my life energy to improve the health and well-being of people and our planet, so I am volunteering as the Roaring Fork Valley coordinator for the Colorado Rising ballot initiative that would create commonsense setbacks for neighborhood fracking from the current 500 feet to 2,500 feet.

I am a mother of two young adults, nanny for five children and have worked in community health and education for 15 years. My past employment at the Cancer Center and Mountain Valley Developmental Services have motivated me to learn how fracking and environmental toxins affect the health and quality of life of our community members.

Health: A recent study from the Colorado School of Public Health shows that the concentration of known carcinogens increase dramatically near Colorado's oil and gas facilities, exceeding the EPA's upper threshold by 800 percent. This study showed eight times the normal cancer risk for Coloradans living within 500 feet of a well and a fourfold increased risk of leukemia. Long-term impacts include increases in heart disease, endocrine disorders, congenital birth defects and permanent brain damage to children.

Safety/Resources: In 2017, 93,000 gallons of oil where spilled into Colorado soil, groundwater and streams and our state has experienced at least 14 fires and explosions at oil and gas sites, some resulting in death or serious injury. Additionally, fracking uses approximately 4.6 billion gallons of our state's fresh water annually.

Quality of life: When fracking comes to communities, our friends, families, and neighbors throughout Colorado are forced to live in an industrial zone with stadium-style lights, 24/7 construction noise and vibration, noxious chemical orders and diesel tanker trucks.

So, I encourage you to sign the petition now and vote in November. We will have circulators at Mountain Fair and Snowmass and Glenwood concerts. Donations and volunteers are also needed — information at CoRising.org.

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Michelle Williams

Carbondale

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