Linda Halteman Lewis: An informed decision
January 12, 2012
Let me say this upfront about hydraulic fracking: It is outrageous to think that carcinogenic and neurotoxic chemicals can be injected into the earth and not cause problems. All the oversight and regulations in the world can't prevent fracking poisons such as barium, strontium, benzene, toluene and acetone from causing serious damage to all living things.
We are being asked to sacrifice our pristine environment and limited quantities of clean water to engage in an environmentally disastrous attempt to produce more oil and gas. The water required for this process is huge, will be highly toxic after its use and, because of former Vice President Dick Cheney and his "Halliburton exemption," is not covered under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Also consider the importance of pressure balance. In the human body, high blood pressure or altered cerebral-spinal pressure causes vast problems. Can we assume that changing the pressure balance of another system — the Earth — also won't result in unwanted repercussions? We live in a geologically active region, and earthquakes in Ohio now are associated with fracking. What does this say about our influence on the Earth's stability?
It is so true that we need energy and jobs. But to destroy our home in order to create some dangerous and short-term jobs doesn't make sense. Instead of chasing a losing game of exploiting more fossil fuels, let's look around. We have amazing amounts of sunshine, wind and geothermal energy all around us. We haven't begun to conserve energy in a meaningful way. We can create good new jobs that are safe for workers, bring us long-term benefits and make use of safe technologies. These new green technologies need further improvement and innovation, but isn't that what Americans are great at?
Everyone needs to be informed on this huge decision. An excellent documentary, complete with banjo accompaniment, is available at the library or on The Documentary Channel. The title is "Gasland," and parts were filmed in Rifle and the Front Range. Please see this film so that you can make an informed decision on one of the most important issues confronting our community.
Linda Halteman Lewis