There were also higher risks for babies to be born with congenital heart defects, along with childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia. Many of these risks were most pronounced within an approximately half-mile radius of high-density fracking operations, with some toxic effects found much further away.
There is also the not insignificant risk of fires and explosions, with some officials recommending blast zone evacuation radii of between 0.8 and 1 mile from operations.
Of course besides fracking’s harmful effects on Coloradans’ health, safety and welfare, there are also large-scale impacts on our climate. U.N. climatologists just released a major report on climate change indicating that we have about 12 years left before we experience irreversible catastrophic effects.
Already, rising sea levels, supercharged hurricanes, droughts, floods, refugee crises and more have become the norm. A major cause of climate change is the little-restricted production and combustion of fracked gas/oil. We need to make the connection between the grip the fracked gas/oil industry has on our society, and the environmental crises that grip is bringing to us and future generations.
I say “little-restricted” because we have been unable to find even one instance where the state regulatory agency, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, has ever denied a fracking permit application.
If such a toxic, heavy industrial operation is to be so routinely rubber-stamped by the state agency charged with representing our best interests, there must at least be appropriate buffers between those operations and our homes, schools, neighborhoods and families.
As for jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the entire logging and mining sector in our state employs about 29,000 people; 1 percent of our entire state labor force, and a far cry from the 200,000 plus used in some industry ads.
Many, if not most, of the employment numbers the industry claims are for temporary, non-local workers, or for jobs only marginally or theoretically connected to the industry.
Furthermore, while we value all productive employment, jobs in solar and other renewables are far more sustainable and safe for both workers and neighbors, now outnumber those in oil and gas, are increasing at a faster pace, and have far greater long-term potential to enhance tax revenues and the state’s economic health.
Modern fracking can drill out a mile and a half laterally underground. With Proposition 112, there will still be much rural and government surface area available to operators in Colorado, and they will still be able to access many cubic miles of underground territory from each multi-well pad.
Indeed, a just-released Colorado School of Mines analysis found that, even if only using 1-mile laterals, “42 percent of (Colorado’s) non-federal subsurface would be accessible, or nearly three times the available surface area,” under Proposition 112.
We shouldn’t have to accept fracking next to our homes and schools. Please consider all the true facts carefully. I’m confident that, like me, you’ll support and vote for Proposition 112.