Ken Collins: A matter of safety

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I have nothing personal against Republicans. Some of my best friends are Republicans. However, I do have a problem with some of their reasoning. I know Republicans have kids and care very much for them. So this one has me wondering.

A week or so ago at the state Capitol in Denver, a Democratic lawmaker introduced a bill that would increase the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s arbitrarily imposed distance a fracking oil well has to be from a school, a playground or a subdivision from the present 350 feet to 1,000 feet. He was concerned about the safety of children being that close to the rig and the associated chemicals. The Republican-controlled House shot it down. 

Another bill was introduced to separate the collection pool of chemicals, sludge and toxins associated with the operations to 1,000 feet. It also was shot down.

Now, we aren’t talking politics or job-killing, because it’s just a move. We’re not talking tree-huggers because the legislation didn’t ask to stop anything. So that pretty much leaves a health and welfare concern. Is that a concern not shared by Republicans? For Colorado kids? 

Fracking has, without any doubt, caused some groundwater degradation. It has created kitchen faucets that can be torches. In Ohio, manmade earthquakes from fracking have caused shutdowns of some operations. 

Here’s how it looks to me: Republican House members think that fume-spewing oil rigs and their accompanying cesspools of toxic sludge ponds of carcinogens at a distance of only a football field from schools and playgrounds is safe. And it’s apparently three times safer than having a highly regulated, often monitored medical marijuana dispensary in the area. Amazing.

Ken Collins

Oak Creek

Comments

Kristopher Hammond 2 years, 5 months ago

Ken, you need to understand that injecting bmillions of gallons of proprietary (secret) chemicals into the earth creates temporary jobs! What's that compared to some imaginary threat to schoolchildren? These kids gotta take one for the team and do the right thing for the economy.

This insane law would kill the already-struggling drilling companies. They would have to hire MORE people (create MORE jobs) to move the wellheads 650 feet. This would reduce their meager profits to almost nothing. I've seen the ads and I know that the oil and gas industry creates billions of American jobs. It would be unAmerican to force them to create a few more. If they had to waste their money on wages, they couldn't buy the "come to the Gulf Coast this Winter" ads.

COGCC would require fracking fluid in the school drinking fountains if it made oil and gas $0.000001 cheaper to produce.

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Mark Helle 2 years, 5 months ago

We are expected to abandon our critical thinking skills and choose one side over another in an oversimplified debate of being a zealot for (Drill baby drill) or against (liberal hate mongers). That type of dialogue keeps ratings high and sells more ads on televsion - but it doesn't educate us as to the reality of the full cost and benefits of an issue like fracking. Thank you Ken for presenting facts and challenging us to make an informed decison. I would love to see this country convert to natural gas as a step to advancing solar and other green technologies. But, as my grandpa used to say, "even a squirrel is smart enough not to mess in his own nest." Are regulations and full disclosure more burdensome than a full-time miltary presence in the mideast?

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sledneck 2 years, 5 months ago

Yes, because after all, those, greedy, environment-hating republicans who have been bribed by "big oil" don't have to drink the same water. They dont have kids in those schools. Their wives and kids and friends don't need or want clean air or any of that. All of them walk the earth in Darth Vader masks with air-filters. So why should they care?

Instead of 1,000 feet from schools how 'bout putting oil rigs 10,000 feet from a caribou or 100,000 feet from the gulf shore? But that still wouldn't satisfy. We already tried. There was an important "school" there too that had to be "protected" at all costs. A school of tuna.

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honestabe 2 years, 5 months ago

This entire fracking "discussion" is lacking in solid facts, instead being driven by emotion. Are there any studies that say 1000 feet is x times safer (if at all) than 350 feet? Have there been damages caused by these "toxic sludge ponds"?

Just like Steve Lewis, you raise some interesting questions, but you pose them as already answered questions, without facts to back you up. You are no better than him at providing actual facts that could shift the discussion to being more productive.

Regulation based on facts is good, based on unsupported opinions, not so much. Possibly if more factual attacks on pollution were generated, more positive regulation could be enacted. Until then it just looks like a bunch of kids crying that their parents are unfair.

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kathy foos 2 years, 5 months ago

I'm a register republican and I don't like fracking at all.I can't deny that the party pushes everything oil and gas ,but not all are blindly in that band wagon.Lots of facts have been presented that there is major problems ,but some of you just don't listen.It seems both party's are avoiding the issue.Ann Coulter won't touch the topic I'm betting.In watching the meeting by Congress about the Keystone pipeline last week,it became obvious to me that people wanting the pipeline want to take property from american's by force if necessary and the benefit goes to Canadian company's and China,South America.The operation of shipping that stinky oil mixture from shale is dangerous,prone to plugging up and forces Americans to give their property to a project from another country(serving Canada or China ,not us).How can our government approve forced sale of property on American property owners for a project that is not American at all.Its not a dam or highway,hospital.Its industry from another country.We get the troubles and someone else get the product.If you bother to read the information on Quicksilver's website,you would notice they are part of Canadian oil company's,hiring Americans and most of the workers benefiting from this Routt County drilling would be a few rich Texas oil men.Maybe the Unions would get some work constructing Keystone pipeline short term,wow!Obama vetoed it I'm hoping,also yesterday Colorado legislatures voted down a bill to stop local government's from having a say,it was sponsored by republicans.Good job! Our state legislator elected are listening to the people that are screaming beware.In the Quicksliver company description it states that they specialize in unconventional processes,we have every right to wonder what is up!They state that the company has executives that love the outdoors and are as concerned as anyone about effect's to the planet,ha ha.Maybe you naysayers to the regulating of our Routt County oil production monitoring by us local's, should do a little reading yourselves,instead of your boring tirades about how we are" kids crying at unfair parental rules",look with a fresh attitude yourselves..Liz I can believe you would bother to respond to anything I say either,you are just way too good for it.There are like four people hell bent on fracking this county,pathetic.Bet you are sad today that our state won't force it on us,the republican and democrats who won't listen to the people need to be voted out.You will see a lot of that going around this year I hope.

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pitpoodle 2 years, 5 months ago

I don't remember seeing or hearing anything from Ken Collins stating his opposition to the drilling on the proposed Camilletti site just above the town of Milner. This subdivision has children living there too. Yet not word one in opposition. Perhaps his only objective is to bash Republicans. Well, here is a news flash - your very own Democrat, Doug Monger, has repeatedly stated where he stands on protecting the gas and oil industry instead of Routt County residents who fear for the integrity of their wells. What say you, Mr. Smug?

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spidermite 2 years, 5 months ago

pit, The Monger family owns alot of mineral rights. This could be why Doug is protecting the gas and oil industries. Conflict of interest?

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pitpoodle 2 years, 5 months ago

Did you see any opposition from Ken Collins regarding fracking in Milner? I do not think you were paying any more attention than me.

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sledneck 2 years, 5 months ago

They're so angry that thay are willing to let their own kids drink poison just to get to you, RWD. And why? Because you have exposed the long hidden truth that "Reality has a liberal bias", even though the REAL REALITY is, by definition not biased at all. Congrats, You are a regular sherlock holmes.

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Kristopher Hammond 2 years, 5 months ago

Sled if a school got its drinking water from a well, would you still be opposed to school-proximity regulations and allow drilling rigs wherever the drillers saw fit? If not, why not?

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Mark Helle 2 years, 5 months ago

Honest Abe There is an a very informative study completed by MIT last year with some interesting conclusions. findings and recommendations which can be twisted by those on either side of the issue. (http://web.mit.edu/mitei/research/studies/report-natural-gas.pdf) In part - the question you raised "deeper does seem to be safer."

"The physical realities of the fracturing process, combined with the lack of reports from the many wells to date of fracture fluid contamination of groundwater, supports the assertion that fracturing itself does not create environmental concerns. However, this simple statement does not address the full range of environmental concerns listed earlier: 1. Leakage of natural gas or drilling fluids into shallow zones::

Chapter 2 p24 - I think - it's more reading than I am up to.

I would encourage Ken and a few other's really motivated by this topic to visit, and interview some of the people in "Gasland" who don't live that far from here and can't run cattle on their property any longer or drink from their wells. When your neighbor "down the crick" has personal experience with the subject - well, bring them to town for a conversation about their experiences - good and bad.

If we remove the money to be made from the equation - is it still a good idea? I found it ironcic that Wolf Mountain (look up SCI International - Houston and Robert Waltrip) were one of the first to start fracking in our backyard. The business of funerals has treated Mr Waltrip very well.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 5 months ago

Honestabe, Actual facts: http://www.propublica.org/article/sci...

Scientific Study Links Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking

May 9, 2011 (excerpts) The research was conducted by four scientists at Duke University. They found that levels of flammable methane gas in drinking water wells increased to dangerous levels when those water supplies were close to natural gas wells. They also found that the type of gas detected at high levels in the water was the same type of gas that energy companies were extracting from thousands of feet underground, strongly implying that the gas may be seeping underground through natural or manmade faults and fractures, or coming from cracks in the well structure itself.

“Our results show evidence for methane contamination of shallow drinking water systems in at least three areas of the region and suggest important environmental risks accompanying shale gas exploration worldwide,” the article states.

The group tested 68 drinking water wells in the Marcellus and Utica shale drilling areas in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York State. Sixty of those wells were tested for dissolved gas. While most of the wells had some methane, the water samples taken closest to the gas wells had on average 17 times the levels detected in wells further from active drilling. The group defined an active drilling area as within one kilometer, or about six tenths of a mile, from a gas well.

The average concentration of the methane detected in the water wells near drilling sites fell squarely within a range that the U.S. Department of Interior says is dangerous and requires urgent “hazard mitigation” action, according to the study.

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Steve Lewis 2 years, 5 months ago

This is a link to more of the same:

http://routtcountyfrack.org/fracking-fears-speculative.html

And this one regarding livestock:

http://routtcountyfrack.org/impacts-of-gas-drilling-on-human-and-animal-health---baywood-publ.html

Conclusion of study : "Documentation of cases in six states strongly implicates exposure to gas drilling operations in serious health effects on humans, companion animals, livestock, horses, and wildlife."

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