I've written before about the trials we had finding a house when we moved here. Despite our efforts to check into our subdivision when we purchased, the sprawling master planned community filed bankruptcy the day before our moving truck arrived or three days after we closed on our home.
Over the summer, 18,000 acres of the development were purchased by a Texas oil company. City officials are negotiating with the company in and out of court about the annexation agreement tied to the land. It is zoned for residential and commercial development.
I've been dealing with this issue for several months, but last week it hit me. You know in your gut like a realization that you can't do anything, no one will listen to you and others don't really care.
I am not a NIMBY — a Not in My Back Yard person. I swear. As a journalist, I reported on enough people, who were NIMBY's to know it makes no sense.
The technology to be used to extract oil and gas from the Niobrara Shale formation in Colorado Springs bothers me. I've studied the hydraulic fracturing or fracking process since July.
This video explain the process:
I have read reports from oil and gas associations, federal reports on fracking and news reports on the process. I have watched the documentary Gasland. I have read the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's response, which disputes some of the cases presented in Gasland. I watched Split Estates in horror. I have attended two county-sponsored oil and gas summits.
I am not a scientist, so I don't understand how a person's water is perfectly normal until fracking takes place nearby. The most common example is where methane gets released into the water system and a person can light their water on fire — from his or her faucet. Regulators say the methane isn't related to the oil and gas production. If it's naturally occurring methane, then it isn't ruled to be related to the drilling. However, most property owners contend the water was fine — without smell or flammable — prior to drilling.
Oil and gas officials will tell you there are no cases of water contamination related to fracking. I've heard them say this at meetings and heard it on documentaries. They will tell you the cement casing and the pipe protect the groundwater supply that is a few hundred feet below the surface.
Most oversight for natural gas exploration is on the state level as federal legislators exempted natural gas from regulations like the Safe Drinking Water Act.
I use several techniques to track fracking trends:
- I search material daily through Google Alerts on the topic.
- I post stories on a blog.
- I evaluate the source of the materials I find — I question affiliation, presentation and spin.
Of course, I don't worry a lot. Last Wednesday, I wrote "deep sigh" when I sent a Tweet to Robyn, who kindly shared a guest post here. I was dealing with an unexpected meeting on the oil and gas issue. I wrote a letter to city council members and then went about my day — there was no time to find a babysitter and well, Enzo deserved a regular day.
This whole fracking business is a tough one for lots of communities. I consume oil and natural gas products, so I understand the importance of reaching these oil and gas deposits. I wish it could be done differently.
You may already be familiar with fracking, as it's being used in 34 states in the U.S.
France banned the practice in June. In the United Kingdom this year, the country's first recorded earthquake was caused by fracking.
I never thought about checking into the practice until it arrived in my community. Have you?