Diana Simon: Free from fracking


As proposed in a recent letter to the editor, I learned more about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. A June 2013 article in the American Journal of Nursing discussed possible health consequences caused by fracking. These consequences begin at the onset of drilling or last long after the process stops. People living near fracking sites experienced symptoms of “fatigue, burning eyes, dermatologic irritation, headache” and various internal organ disruptions. The article has 49 well-documented references.

The health risks of water contamination, air pollution and occupational hazards led the American Nurses Association in June 2012 to call “for a national moratorium on new drilling permits for unconventional natural gas and oil extraction based on mounting evidence that fracking leads to human health threats, disruption in communities and ecologic degradation.” The association suggests that nurses and others need to know that safer energy options exist.

Before reading this article, my knowledge and awareness about the fracking process were limited. I wondered about the deleterious effects of this mining process but didn’t know the scientific thought until three educated nurses shared their research. The thought of methane being released by fracking and migrating into groundwater and the air is scary. I want my darling 3-year-old grandson to grow up in an environment free of serious hazards.

Diana Simon, RN

Steamboat Springs


mark hartless 3 years, 11 months ago

Back when Natural Gas was expensive it was touted by many environmentalists as the "alternative" to coal.

Now that it is abundant and relatively cheap most of those same folks now oppose its extraction.

This leads many like myself to conclude that the goal of much of the environmental lobby is to drive up the costs of any and all types of energy. The end game being NOT merely to clean up the environment, but to squelch production of energy, because they feel it allows mankind to be too active on the earth.

I wonder if the American Nurses Association, a group that has taken other equally lame positions in the past, has ever stopped to consider how peoples health is affected by expensive energy, or how much life-spans have been prolonged by modern medicine, modern agriculture, modern transportation, etc; all of which rise and fall on the costs of energy. Of course there are environmental impacts to fracking. Heck, there are environmental impacts to riding your bicycle. But for people who practice environmentalism as their religion it is often as if they are saying "people who work in bakery's get backaches so we should stop the production of food..." or "Farm workers get fatigue so let's shut down the farms till we can eliminate all consequences of farming".

How foolish is that?


Michelle Hale 3 years, 11 months ago

I use to call my self and environmentalist, but to me any more that is a dirty word. I am a conservationists. The constant perpetual BS on the health of Fracking places me over the top. PEOPLE... fracking has been used clear back in the 1940s and has never stopped!! Why? Because OIL doesn't flow freely!. For those who bash the Petroleum Companies, stop and take an honest look around you. What do you have that has NOT be touched by the use of Petroleum? It is in everything, made by it, or got it to you! Yep it's even in your ski equipment, its behind the lifts, its in your IPhone and Computer, as well as your lotion, shampoo and laundry soap! My Dad was a coal miner for 42 years and a roughneck during the summers when the coal mine were idle. He was also a 5th generation Routt County-ite. His Dad worked rigs here in the 1920...when the OIL was on the surface and YES by water, back when the men were made of Iron and the rigs were made of wood.

So would you rather we keep depending on oil from overseas from nations that HATE US(A), and rightfully so!?? Do you want to embrace hyper inflation past what we already have? Do you want to see the point where it can take 100.00 to buy some bread? Why? Because the American Standard of currency is being removed from the rest of the world. In other words IT HAS NO VALUE. Even China is dumping it as fast as they can, along with Japan, Germany, Russia, and the rest of the world. When that takes place and is in full swing get ready, you can ONLY WISH we had energy and could afford it. We are far more than "just local" or just the USA. We are global, and are paying the effects of unnecessary war and two faced political systems of Bush and Obama. (they really are one in the same just different shades of gray)

You also seem to over look those who work in this area, on rigs, and coal mines....THIS IS ALSO THEIR HOME. Last time I looked very few people S**t in the bed they sleep in. Same with people who live and work here. We all need to get out of our own way, and realize that major change is a FACT, its close and it has little to do with what is taking place on a "Local" level, but will have profound effects on a massive level. Look past your own door step!!


Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Nat gas wells using fracking have some risks. The problems are modest and solved by using good practices.

It is pretty clear that fracking does not crack the earth from the nat gas levels all the way up to groundwater levels. There is a risk of well seals failing that have allowed contamination of groundwater, but there is no general problem of properly tested well seals failing.

The two major issues with fracking are air pollution from leaky well production equipment and contamination from ground spills. Neither have anything to do with fracking itself, but have everything to do with sloppy operations. Regions with a high level of production have both problems.

A moratorium is not necessary or desirable, but the industry needs to be regulated so that it does not allow spills to contaminate groundwater and to greatly limit leakage. It appears most leakage occur from their compressors and it can be less expensive for a well owner to lose some gas than to replace the compressor. But that can be a significant source of air pollution and the public has a right to expect that leaks are not tolerated.


Michelle Hale 3 years, 11 months ago

Minimal risk is more like and yes, you are right most of the contamination to water has little to do with Fracking and far more to do with equipment error. If you take a good long look at all the wells through out the USA, and that actual "contamination" of any water it is less that 1/2 of a percent. Not bad odds, as well as the industry doesn't want to loose anything, because it's all about money.

As far as air pollution, all the cars on Lincoln, and the smell from park are more pollution that what you'll get from oil, or natural gas. No one wants to loose money. I look at this as a national security issue, nothing like the BS from Washington with the NDAA, or the NSA, but the right to be warm and have the most simple of things. The more fighting and foolishness over gas and oil, the higher in price everything goes. There is enough natural gas in Rio Blanco County that it can fill ALL the needs of the USA for 100 years. That is per a USGS report in 2003. Yet, because of the BS and incorrect information from people who lack the ability to learn past their agenda, we all pay the price. Our nation pays the price. Too much red tape, too much greed of towns and counties reaching in the pockets of oil companies have slowed everything down to almost a stop. I don't know, you like paying almost 4.00 for a gallon of gas? You don't think it effects what you try to purchase in a store, to your insurance and to your IPad? It touches everything and everyone. While out looking for the enemy, we are it.

As a person who WAS a democrat all my life, I am sick to death of the poor policy that is taking place on a local, state and federal level. Its a joke. Far too often that civil service is more like self service and it shows, and we pay for it.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 11 months ago

current administration philosophy on energy prices????

Feb. 29, 2012 President Barack Obama's Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu uttered the kind of Washington gaffe that consists of telling the truth when inconvenient. According to Politico, Chu admitted to a House committee that the administration is not interested in lowering gas prices.

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 29, 2012 Serious concerns and questions have been raised about Secretary Chu’s Memorandum, which mandates new missions for PMAs and could raise energy costs on over 40 million Americans.

April 30th, 2012 (CNSNews.com) – In a Mar. 16 memorandum, Energy Secretary Steven Chu outlined plans to restructure the marketing of federal hydropower operations in an effort to advance the Obama administration’s green energy agenda, which apparently would raise electricity costs, critics charged on Thursday.

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 26, 2012 - Today, the House Natural Resources Committee heard at an oversight hearing that Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s Memorandum to the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) could increase energy costs dramatically. This hearing follows up on a bipartisan Pacific Northwest Congressional delegation letter that raised serious questions about Secretary Chu’s Memo.

March 3, 2011 When Chairman Hall asked Secretary Chu about the cost of the proposed CES, Chu conceded that he doesn’t know how much it will cost in terms of taxpayer spending as well as higher electricity prices for consumers. Following up, Hall asked what the affect on the climate would be if the President’s goal were achieved. Chu mentioned the CES proposal could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but would not assert whether it would have a noticeable impact on climate change efforts.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 11 months ago

more on energy an excerpt from an opinion piece i read today. I have provided a link to the article below. "Yes, the official subtitle of “President Obama’s Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution” is “Taking Action for Our Kids.” That should give you plenty of clues about the policies proposed therein.

The policy centers around three areas of executive action: killing coal-fired power plants, setting tough efficiency standards for homes and appliances, and generating more renewable energy on federal lands. Oh, and he’s also going to stop any aid to the developing world that would be used to build coal power plants." http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/351946/obamas-climate-plan-its-kidz-iain-murray


Steve Lewis 3 years, 11 months ago

If the risk was minimal, why did this industry exempted itself in 2005 from our Clean Water Act?


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