Here’s a handy list of questions, to ask the oil and gas industry and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), that definitely need answers!

Questions that need asking at public forums on fracking/oil and gas development

(If you are considering asking one of these and it gets asked, just ask the next one…)

COGCC= Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

COGA= industry association: Colorado Oil and Gas Association

(First one is a multi part question; different people can ask each part or two parts each )

Ask COGCC why their regulations don’t more adequately mitigate for significant threats to public health and safety and quality of life, such as:

– Required continuous independent testing of air quality (for every well independently), testing for all chemicals used and for methane gas and hydrogen sulfide), paid by industry.

– Pre-drilling and periodic independent water testing for all downstream water wells and aquifers, rivers and streams within 5 miles of drilling, (for all toxic chemicals used and all toxic thermogenic materials likely to come up with produced water, such as radioactive materials),  paid by industry.  

– Continuous independent measurement of radioactive nuclide levels in produced water, paid by industry.

 -Required public disclosure of frack fluid chemicals so community health can advance organize for the frequent accidents and spills.

– Requiring oil and gas companies to present a truth in drilling advisement to cities, counties and property owners, advising them of the known impacts to health, quality of life, traffic, and property values before asking them to sign drilling agreements. 

 -Requiring oil and gas companies to agree to use currently available technology and processes that would prevent much of the current harm to human health and the environment: such as closed loop and green technology, less toxic frack chemicals, no open pits, no dumping of polluted waters into our rivers, or spraying them on country roads or storing them underground in the well after drilling

 -Requiring oil and gas companies to pay full remediation costs for spills or accidents or results of usual operations, to make whole damages to land, water and air, as well covering medical costs to individuals and townships/counties, and cost of property value loss) 

Ask COGA or an industry representative why they think that their industry, alone among all other industries, should continue to be exempted from key federal laws that protect public health and safety (such as Safe Water Drinking Act, Clean Air Act, Superfund Site ACT (CERCLA), Community Right to Know Act, and several others.  Doesn’t their industry think that they can live up to those standards?  Don’t they think that they have a responsability to do so, like all other industries, for the common good of everyone and the future?  Why do they think that we taxpayers should bear the financial burden for cleaning up their messes, trying to fund research to objectively document their harm to air and water and health, paying the cost of medical harm and property value loss? 

Ask COGA or an industry representative: 
 Oil and gas makes huge profits (50% expected from oil production), get subsidies from the government, the biggest oil companies pay zero in taxes, and then, to add insult to injury, your industry  uses outdated technology that is super polluting of air and water and leaves local people to pay their own health bills from oil and gas related health problems, pay their own legal fees when they try to bring suit against a team of lawyers, suffer uncompensated loss in property values, and suffer uncompensated losses from decreased quality of life and area environmental damage.

 Why doesn’t the oil and gas industry pay its own way?  Pay its obligations and pay for damages, harms, and loss of value it has caused instead of expecting the rest of us to pay their way, even with our health and the health of our children?

 Ask COGCC why companies aren’t required to hold public hearings in a community regarding their application, before the dispute deadline date, with full factual information about expected impact to their community (on roads, public health, traffic, property values, etc)? 

With  dispute deadlines held weeks before the COGCC hearing that is held on the application, communities receive no meaningful advance public notice of what is going to drastically affect their quality of life and so have no meaningful opportunity to consider the matter before it is already set to take place.

Ask COGCC: The conclusions of the Colorado Dept of Health’s “Health Assement”regarding expected impact to the community, its hospitals, businesses and individuals, performed for Battlement Mesa, apply to all Colorado towns and counties, outlining expected impact to roads, health, quality of life etc. and should be included as a link and with a summary in a packet going out to all areas where drilling has been applied for (within 5 miles). When will the COGCC start providing full information about known oil and gas impact, including the information provided in the Health Assessment, to residents receiving application for hearing/drilling notices in their community? AND

When will COGCC start including the conclusions of that document and other full facts about drilling impact in the information it provides on its website, in public forums like this one, and in presentations it give to local governments and CO legislators?

 Ask elected officials:

Are you aware that there is no meaningful information regarding anticpated impact going out to communities where drilling will take place in the vicinity of their homes and schools,? Communities are getting no objective information about how this large scale industrial process will impact their traffic, quality of life, air quality, health, property values, mortgage and home insurance, etc. They are getting no guidance on what their rights are as an HOA or as individual homeowners or as residents of their city our county, regarding filing a protest (and what that would entail), what to expect at the hearing, what they can request, etc. Then, in the final analysis, their rights of decision are blocked by the state laws that allow oil and gas companies to drill essentially at will once they have purchased mineral rights and that allow forced pooling of property owners.

What will you do to ensure meaningful rights of homeowners and towns to decide whether oil and gas should be allowed to drill in their community at all or where they may drill, what mitigating measures they must use to prevent harm?

What will you do to ensure that if property values drop and/or significant health impacts rise, or spills occur, that homeowners and towns get appropriately compensated and that full remediation costs are paid by industry?



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