Are the oil and gas people really all that terrible?
Having written a column only a few Sundays ago skewering the oil and gas industry, Tony Kindelspire, business editor of the Times-Call is back again on May 27 with a similar offering, long on emotionalism and short on scientific proof.
He keeps emphasizing the danger of drilling for oil and gas, especially the use of hydraulic fracturing, but offers no scientific proof that anyone’s illness around here is, or ever has been attributed to this activity. After all, drilling for oil and gas in Boulder County, including Longmont, is not a new phenomenon. Black gold was discovered just north of Boulder in 1901 and, according to the 1945 Colorado Yearbook, two wells were still producing there. (While residing in Louisville from 1965 to 1997, I knew of two active gas wells–one was located in Superior, the other just north of Louisville.)
Does the oil and gas industry need regulating? Yes. But I don’t think it was necessary for the columnist to broad-brush the entire oil and gas industry (which would have to include its employees and their families, some of whom no doubt reside in Longmont) into his “Who do you trust?” category. He’s apparently upset that “20 inspectors for the state’s 45,000 wells are not enough.” Is this the number of currently producing oil and gas wells or is it the grand total of all the wells ever drilled in Colorado? How many are now capped or were dry holes to start with? And there’s not a word about the economic benefits and payment of things like severance taxes.
I, too, appreciate Councilman Bagley’s willingness to serve on the Local Government Designee panel. However, did he stick around long enough to even get some play on his ideas, using his lawyerly skills to sway the other committee members? I don’t know.
Contrary to Kindelspire’s criticism of the several City Council members who are allegedly dragging their feet on this issue, I commend them for resisting a quick rush to judgment.
If we’re going to pass laws here in Longmont based on how many “fors” or “againsts” that can be lined up at the City Hall microphone beforehand or, if that fails, put every issue on the ballot so that outside talent and money can be brought in to achieve the desired outcome, then there’s no need for a City Council. And yes, I’m for free speech and the right to petition, although I quit signing petitions years ago because they were often misleading. Now I see where a petition drive is already underway. Only in Longmont. This is a clever strategy because it not only keeps things stirred up, it puts a lot of pressure on each council member.
Drilling for gas and oil, the last I heard, is a legitimate business, not a function of government. To pretend that the outside business world is paying no attention as to what’s happening here in Longmont is wishful thinking. For decades, this community has enjoyed a positive reputation as a good place to do business—an image hard to gain, easily destroyed. Who cares?
Okay, there you have it. Blast away.
Percy Conarroe, Longmont