Fracking in Colorado: the unavoidable consequences

5 March 2019

Scribe staff

scribe@uccs.edu

    After a few years of fracking going under the radar: its back and its “booming”. With Weld County, and Colorado’s Front Range being one of the most prominent fracking locations across the country, students should be aware and educated about what is occurring in their home states environment, and how it could affect them.

    According to an article by The New York Times, Drilling applications in the state have risen 70 percent in just a year, while the area north of Denver is expected to double in population by 2050.

    A question due to this occurrence must be asked: is money and production more important than our safety and the well-being of our environment? While oil and gas is a large industry, especially in Colorado, supporting 232,900 of jobs, according to the American Petrolium Institute (API), it does not necessarily have to operate a hazardous “828 feet” away from a middle school, according to The New York Times.

    An industry, however detrimental to a state’s environmental stability, that contributes as much as oil and gas does for Colorado, contributing $32 billion a year to the state’s economy according to The New York Times is bound to stick around no matter the health or safety risks.

    This is one of the most controversial environmental issues that is reoccurring in Colorado, and is an ever changing industry that people have differing opinions on. For example, if the court decides the state must consider health first, said Sharon Jacobs, a law professor at the University of Colorado, it could have sweeping effects, raising the bar for new permits, also according to The New York Times.

    Fracking is something that is necessary for the job support in Colorado, but could also be approached differently. If health was put first, then fracking wouldn’t be occurring in such close proximity to children who are trying to learn. There is only so much benefit a state can receive from natural resources and extensive jobs, until health and safety take precedence.

    Our nation as a whole needs to prioritize human lives over money. Yes, fracking is providing jobs for large amounts of American citizens, but we must think about the affect of the industry on human health, safety and our environment. Educating ourselves on the issue is the first step, especially for college students our age that can now vote on these issues, and representatives for our state that take a specific stance on oil, gas and fracking.

    According to The New York Times, the fight over the project is complicated by the fact that the largely conservative county has benefited enormously from oil and gas, which has flooded the region with money and jobs and is embraced by much of the community.

     However, in December of 2018, according to this same article, an explosion caused a fire which badly burned a worker, and lasted for several hours: this is when we must be concerned about an operation taking place so close to a school.

    Regardless of the stance taken with this reality, it is important to stay educated and in-the-know. How could this industry in Colorado be affecting you, your family, or loved ones, and what will you do about it?

    When are safety and healthy more important than money and jobs, and where do we draw the line?

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