Deborah Fink: Proposition 112 needed because government has failed us
Posted: 10/01/2018 06:11:39 PM MDT
Contrary to many of the assertions made by Emily Haggstrom in her Sept. 22 Daily Camera Guest Commentary, Proposition 112: Safer Setbacks from Fracking will not shut down the oil and gas industry, significantly reduce Colorado’s gross domestic product, or increase costs for consumer necessities. What it will do is put a buffer zone of 2,500 feet between new (not existing) industrial oil and gas operations. Federal lands, making up roughly 34 percent of Colorado’s area, will be exempt.
Perhaps some of the environmental impact of Colorado’s burgeoning population and demand for energy has been unavoidable. But as new technologies and new knowledge emerge, we can do better. We know that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) pollutes and poses documented health and safety risks.
The problem is that our state government has failed to protect us. The state prioritizes oil and gas profits above public health, safety and our environment. Oil and gas is the only industry in which a rubber-stamp state agency is given total control of rule-making. The legislature could change that situation, but has repeatedly failed to do so. Colorado’s oil and gas regulations aren’t strict; and exceptions to the rules are routinely granted, allowing companies to skirt fundamental safety precautions.
It is for reasons like these that Colorado citizens, some of whom have experienced first hand diminishment or loss of property value, safety, health and even the lives of neighbors or loved ones, have worked to put Proposition 112 on the ballot.
We, the people, have the right, without harming an industry and those who work for it, to enforce safety in our communities, open spaces and waterways via an appropriate legal statute, based on peer-reviewed health studies that show health impacts are greatest within a half mile of a fracking site.