Does drilling have too much clout?

The Denver Post - - PERSPECTIVE -

Re: “Oil in Colorado’s po­lit­i­cal ma­chine,” July 16 news story.

Your ar­ti­cle on big oil lob­by­ing was a per­fect ex­am­ple of just how much power big busi­ness has in our econ­omy.

There is no doubt that Amer­ica needs to change our way of cre­at­ing en­ergy for busi­nesses and homes as rapidly as is pru­dent. Sci­en­tific ev­i­dence shows that global warm­ing is real and grow­ing and is a threat to hu­mans and the Earth in gen­eral. How­ever, with huge groups such as the oil lobby able to spend $20 mil­lion a year in Colorado, it be­comes un­likely that our coun­try will be able to stop or even slow this warm­ing is­sue.

It is the old and never-end­ing story: big busi­ness is the power that runs the Earth. John Ruck­man, Lake­wood

A ma­jor rea­son the en­ergy com­pa­nies need to tell their story is that most me­dia out­lets are quick to pub­lish al­most any ac­cu­sa­tions by en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, many of which bor­der on scare tac­tics. No mat­ter that the most re­cent com­pre­hen­sive Colorado De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health and En­vi­ron­ment health-ef­fects study of oil and gas op­er­a­tions found no sig­nif­i­cant health im­pacts, th­ese sto­ries make good copy.

Se­condly, there are many mis­con­cep­tions with the deadly Fire­stone home ex­plo­sion. This ex­plo­sion wasn’t the re­sult of drilling too close to homes or well frack­ing, but was caused by a builder con­struct­ing homes near to an ex­ist­ing well with­out ad­e­quately clear­ing the site. Bill Turner, Aurora

The pub­lic is right to con­front in­equities im­posed by the oil and gas in­dus­try, and to per­sist un­til reme­dies are es­tab­lished. World­wide, it is a busi­ness that has ha­bit­u­ally harmed pub­lic health, safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Its lobby has kept it largely ex­empt from the Clean Air Act and Clean Wa­ter Act. His­tor­i­cally, oil wells have pol­luted fresh wa­ters with pro­duced brines, and pol­luted the at­mos­phere with un­burned meth­ane, to what­ever de­gree the pub­lic would tol­er­ate. In Colorado, the emer­gence of hy­drofrack­ing and the en­croach­ment of well sites has ex­posed meth­ane emis­sions as a pub­lic haz­ard, and has stim­u­lated the Colorado Oil & Gas Con­ser­va­tion Com­mis­sion to in­sti­tute some ben­e­fi­cial changes to field op­er­a­tions. But fugi­tive gas re­mains a prob­lem and con­cern to homes, schools and nearby busi­nesses. David T. Snow, Ar­vada

OK, so last Sun­day’s pa­per was one more is­sue against the oil in­dus­try. Now I’d like to hear the other side of the story. Here are some ideas for fu­ture ar­ti­cles:

• Rev­enue to the state from oil and gas.

• Num­ber of jobs pro­vided by the oil in­dus­try.

• The cost to the pub­lic of a to­tally green state.

• A com­par­i­son of dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries’ spend­ing on pol­i­tics by tax dol­lar.

Please give us the facts and spare us your nar­row-minded opin­ions. Su­san Law, Den­ver

He­len H. Richard­son, Den­ver Post file

A Cre­stone Peak Re­sources drilling op­er­a­tion, with noisedamp­en­ing walls, op­er­ates near Fred­er­ick. Colorado’s oil and gas in­dus­try has spent more than $80 mil­lion in the last four years to shape pub­lic opin­ion and in­flu­ence cam­paigns and bal­lot ini­tia­tives.

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