I spent Monday at the COGCC rule making hearing for recommendations 17 and 20 from the rigged Governor’s Task Force. After political maneuvering took away our hopes of a ballot initiative last fall, we were left with a task force loaded with industry and supporters.
There were 2 recommendations from the task force that might have provided a little, limited relief to citizens. However, even that was too much for COGCC and the industry allow. We are now left with rules that bear little resemblance to the original recommendations. As currently written, they will result in even more placement of wells next to our homes, schools and businesses. Cities and counties will have no power to stop them.
The day was spent with witnesses testifying. The commissioners sat with bored expressions on their faces and some spent the time on their phones and computers.
Industry and supporters spent their time raging against a sentence in the proposed rules which put a time limit on the how long the drilling and fracking processes can take.
The other side of the equation was the citizens and activist groups. There were many new activists at the meeting. (Every time a new area is fracked, more activists are born.) All of these new activists go through a stage, just as I did, hopeful that they can find the right words to reach those in power.
It was heart wrenching to watch people testify and pour out their hearts in a plea for mercy while I sat there with the knowledge that the game is already rigged against them. People came from across the state to tell their stories: Battlement Mesa, Paonia, Thornton, Wadley Farms, Greeley and Pleasant View. Boulder County and Adams County Commissioners came to plead for their citizens.
A few months ago several of us came to the realization that the COGCC doesn’t care and will never protect us. CAF staged a walk out at the stakeholders meeting in Greeley, letting them know we are aware that they don’t care.
So, I didn’t bother to prepare any remarks. I didn’t bore them further with tales of the latest health studies. I didn’t tell them about fear for my grandchildren.
The task force was a bust. We knew it would not give us any relief from the dangers of fracking. Our governor and the COGCC don’t care and won’t act to protect us.
Now we will take the next step. We will band together and get a ballot initiative on the ballot next fall. Then we will work with our partners to get it passed. It is time to send the fossil fuel industry into the fossil bin where it belongs. It is time for a renewable, sustainable future. We will build it together.