Health risks of hydraulic fracturing justify new Adams County regulations

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Despite self-serving advocacy and letter-writing campaigns by the Colorado oil and gas industry, Adams County commissioners voted to pass reasonable restrictions and regulations on hydraulic fracturing and operations. linked to hydraulic fracturing.

Kudos to them for their courage in the face of pressure from vested interests, and kudos to the residents of Adams County and the rest of us in neighboring counties, who at some point may see lower levels of threats. toxic to our health, safety and well-being.

Harv Teitelbaum

I was one of those stakeholders who was asked by a fossil fuel operator to participate in one of the letter writing campaigns organized. But after considering the now overwhelming preponderance of scientific evidence supporting significant risks to the health, safety and well-being of people, pets, wildlife and the environment presented by hydraulic fracturing and its activities Related, I fully supported the proposed regulations, even though they may adversely affect the return on my investments.

Foremost among the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing activities are pregnant women and young children. These include increased rates of infant mortality, perinatal mortality, premature and low birth weight births, and early childhood cancers, such as leukemia. Statistical evidence of the latter was found in the research of Dr. Lisa McKenzie of the Colorado School of Public Health, at distances of up to 10 miles from high-density hydraulic fracturing operations.

We also know that at the more general end of the harms experienced are conditions such as nosebleeds, asthma attacks, headaches, dizziness, stress, anxiety and lack of sleep. . These are linked to excessively intrusive noise and light pollution from hydraulic fracturing activity, making a convincing case in favor of the noise regulations enacted.

Additionally, particulate pollution from incessant tanker traffic, as well as noxious odors commonly experienced by community residents, are contributing to the increase in hospitalizations seen in research studies of fractured counties.

I could go on with the scientific research and all the known health consequences experienced by those who live within 2000 feet of hydraulic fracturing activity, but I wanted to turn to a set of basic industry talking points. , namely those who claim that even scientifically – justified regulations are a ‘catch’, that is, an uncompensated deprivation of property rights.

In short, no, they are not.

“Even the most zealous proponents of property rights agree that the government has the power to prevent activity on private property from creating a nuisance to its neighbors. Regulations that restrict the use of goods in order to avoid nuisance are therefore insulated from liability, ”wrote former State Senator Mike Foote, University of Denver law professor Kevin Lynch, and Andrew Forkes-Gudmundson, deputy director of the Oil and Gas League. Coloradans impacted.

In written testimony submitted to Larimer County Commissioners in June, they asserted that “[t]A combination of industrial-scale fracking activities near residential neighborhoods is a classic example of a nuisance, and Colorado’s nuisance law would easily apply in this context.

The industry also didn’t like the strict and fast-paced nature of setback regulations. This ties into the flawed, but still prevalent, rules of the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission which impose setbacks and restrictions, but then allow waivers, exemptions, and exceptions granted at the sole discretion of the Director – who rarely refuses, if ever. to grant such. Having real regulations in practice, and not just in theory, is something the industry has never had to contend with, to the historic and continuing detriment of Colorado families.

Thank you, Adams Commissioners, for your efforts to protect the health, safety and well-being of the citizens of Adams County and Colorado. While science argues for larger minimum setbacks, 2,000 charges are a realistic effort. We congratulate you and support you for these efforts.


Harv Teitelbaum of Evergreen is a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility Colorado. He is not a doctor.


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