One thing we need to agree upon before we have any conversation surrounding the environment is that we need to listen to our scientists, our experts, and those who have dedicated their lives to measuring the impact we have on our environment and developing proposals to transition our economy and our entire society towards a carbon-free, 100% renewable energy system.
This reminder is not just for those who deny the existence of global warming, but for Republicans and Democrats who propose solutions that either ignore their evidence or water down their scientifically driven proposals. Democrats in Colorado recently passed Senate Bill 181, which reformed who can sit on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and gave control of oil and gas regulations to local counties and municipalities. Deregulation and decentralization has often been a strong Republican talking point, so it should be concerning to most when Democrats in this state start co-opting these traditionally conservative ideals when we need to be reversing the decades of damage that oil and gas have done to our air, our water, and our entire climate.
Although this bill resulted in some positive changes in places like Lafayette who was able to institute a 6-month moratorium on any new fracking permits, it caused the opposite effect in places like Weld County where they are using SB-181 to strengthen their relationship with oil and gas and ensure nothing gets in the way of new fracking permits. Weld County is easily the top producer of oil and gas in Colorado, accounting for 89 percent of all crude oil production and one-third of all natural gas production in the state
Scientists have confirmed that fracking is extremely damaging to our local and global environment due to its growing amount of leaks and spills, regularly occurring fatal explosions. Also troubling is the significant increase in methane that comes with fracking which has found to be 105 times more damaging to our atmosphere than carbon dioxide. CU’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research conducted research to track Boulder County’s air county and in 2018, the researchers announced one of their biggest and clearest findings: There is a strong correlation between northeasterly winds from Weld County and levels of petroleum hydrocarbons — such as methane, ethane and propane — in Boulder County’s air.
Pollution does not observe county lines and although local control has allowed progressive communities to put a stop to any new production within their jurisdiction, it has allowed places like Weld County to expand exponentially to more than 24,000 fracking wells which severely impacts all of our air quality and pushes us closer to an existential nightmare.
We need to have the courage and the guts to ban fracking across the entire state of Colorado, put a tax on carbon, and ensure oil and gas pay for the true cost of the environmental damage that their daily operations have caused. We need to listen to our scientists who are telling us the data clearly shows that fracking in places like Weld county are impacting all of us and local control only strengthens their position to drill.
Not all Democrats are the same, our campaign would adopt all of these proposals and push to make Colorado a leader among Western states on how to push back against the status quo and introduce the change necessary to curb the reckless, irresponsible, and profit-driven destruction of our earth.