I am sending this letter because there is another side to natural gas drilling that is going to cost taxpayers that is repeatedly ignored by the media. The cost of fires, water contamination related to natural gas drilling and security also is part of the natural gas "profit" equation.
Fires and blowouts are common occurrences at natural gas wells. The Hayman Fire cost the state $40 million in damages, burned 133 homes and forced the evacuation of 5,340 people. This is small compared with one blowout. Will the natural gas companies cover all damages to the fires they start? No, that comes out of the local and state taxes. Nor will companies pay to restore areas that supported local business related to tourism. They won't pay to rebuild houses.
That's what insurance is for? Think again. Right after the Hayman Fire, the insurance companies suspended sales of insurance to homes in high-risk areas. Home prices go down and insurance rates go up. Will the gas and oil companies rebuild our communities?
On to water-related issues: All drilling requires millions of barrels of fresh water. Once used for hydraulic fracturing it cannot be released back into streams or recycled - it is hazardous waste. Who will pay to clean all of these sites? Who is going to pick up the tab for health care for those who are affected?
Finally, there is an increased security risk to Colorado residents. Natural gas wells are a very easy and accessible target for terrorists. Who funds the security to keep Colorado citizens safe? There's profit for someone, but it's not the Colorado taxpayer.
The bill to increase restrictions on the gas and oil companies has produced a media blitz by these companies and their lobbyists, but defeating the bill that reins in the gas and oil companies' destruction to Colorado is going to force the Colorado Legislature to raise taxes, because that's who's going to have to foot the bill.
Ann Schmechel, Palmer Lake