OPINION: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
In defense of civil disobedience in Lafayette and North Dakota, it is important to look at the facts about fracking.
Fracking does not exist to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. It exists to make maximum amount of profits for oil and gas companies. Economists and geologists agree that any petroleum that companies get from here on will require drilling wells deeper and fracking. More than 50 percent of fracking wells leak, including those that have been abandoned. Abandoned wells are no good for making money; however, they are still under pressure and often leak into the aquifer.
When fracking wells run dry or shut down, they have to be plugged in order to keep them from contaminating fresh-water aquifers. Because many fracking companies go bankrupt, the cost of cleanup falls to the states. Cleanup costs include: repair of roads due to wear and tear of 400 trucks hauling water and heavy equipment for each well; air, water and soil contamination; species extinction; ozone depletion; climate change; medical treatment for skyrocketing cases of asthma, cancer, immune system diseases, cognitive deficiencies, miscarriages and birth defects. Wyoming spent $11 million between 1997 and 2014 to plug abandoned wells.
In 2014, California ordered the emergency shut-down of fracking wells stating that fracking "poses danger to life, health, property and natural resources" because oil and gas companies had been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking-water aquifers.
So, while the profits from fracking go to the oil and drilling companies, the costs of cleanup, adverse environmental and health consequences will be borne by the taxpayers of Boulder County. Considering the earthquakes, the mess, the poisoned air and water and sick people, fracking is just not worth it.
Andrew J. O'Connor