I am so angry that they lied about all this. They scared the hell out of my family..., an Erie mother reacts to propaganda scare campaigns spread by fractivists after independent facts and research are reported.
This is a common reaction to assertions of local hazard and epidemic sickness by political activist groups using fracking as a wedge issue. Virtually all claims by these groups are shown to be false or immensely exaggerated.
Conceding the issue, fractivist leaders are now seeking cover from their past assertions. Recent statements like these: Erie Rising didnt claim bad air... and We never said the water (pollution) was a problem... are too little, too late for many who feel they were manipulated and deceived about the issue, and former sympathizers are leaving in great numbers.
Natural gas wells may be ugly to some, but they are not really dangerous.
In 2012 the Town of Erie methodically compiled facts and research from multiple sources (NOAA, the Piñon Group and Colorado Department of Public Health to name a few), it became clear the local energy economy, energy operators and fracking are not a significant or comparative risk to the surrounding community and have an exemplary safety record.
Propane tested at 1000 fold below EPA minimum concern levels, showing Erie has very clean air. Overall, the air is better than 37 of the top 50 metros (in the country). None of the daily water tests (last 10 years) indicate any contamination from natural gas operations.
How does a family feel after they learn that a late-model gas well produces 100 times fewer annual emissions and carcinogens than the average family car, or that you may breathe more benzene at one fill up than living next to a natural gas well for 30 years or more?
Context helps. When compared to acceptable risks in our everyday lives, this information can be a real eye opener and a great relief for those previously under siege by activists.
Many observe it is an election year and political activist groups often (falsely) create a crisis that may favor their candidate or platform. If they succeed, they go away (along with the crisis they invented) thereby fixing it. Meanwhile, reality and issues take a back seat.
Whats a citizen to do? Same as always. Get the facts, embrace education and ask those on all sides of the issue. Avoid haters and angry prophets of doom.
Joe Wilson serves as mayor of the Town of Erie.