By Ben DeGrow | Special to Colorado Watchdog
Colorado Media Trackers reported that anti-fracking hysteria is alive and well in at least two of the state’s upcoming legislative races.
Democratic candidates Crestina Martinez in the Senate District 35 race and Mike Foote, seeking the House District 12 seat, have bought the environmentalist hyperbole hook, line and sinker, according to last week’s story. Both candidates will represent their party on the November ballot
As Media Trackers notes, their positions “put them well outside the mainstream of not only Colorado in general, but also the more moderate wing of the Colorado Democratic party” — as in the party’s highest elected official.
It wasn’t long ago that their fellow partisan, Gov. John Hickenlooper, took the unusual step of declaring a position on a controversial issue. Hickenlooper, a former geologist, said at an energy forum that the left-wing’s media-generated anti-fracking hysteria is “way off base.”
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is the process of pushing a chemical mixture thousands of feet below the earth’s surface to break apart geologic formations to release oil and gas. Most of the the chemical compound returns to the surface, along with the fossil fuels.
The Independence Institute’s Donovan Schafer picked up where the governor left off in debunking irrational fears about the common oil and gas extraction procedure. His December 2011 op-ed for the Colorado Springs Gazette tears down the mythology behind claims of drinking water contamination, explaining that fracking “is the safest, most environmentally benign way to grow tens of thousands of new jobs in Colorado’s energy economy.”
He also demolished the trumped-up claim that fracking will deplete Colorado’s scarce water supply, when in reality it would only comprise 0.08 percent of the state’s usage. In his most recent piece, Schafer put into perspective the assertion that the procedure releases toxic chemicals into the environment. The associated risks, he said, are “comparable to the risks associated with automobile emissions, urban living, and industrial activities in general.”
Here’s hoping for Schafer and the Independence Institute to come forth soon with a thorough and comprehensive explanation of the fracking issue to put many of these myths to bed. We can maintain a clean environment without enacting unreasonable policies that stifle the development of energy.
At a time when the economy and the jobs picture remain bleak for so many Coloradans, someone needs to ask candidates like Martinez and Foote how they can use such faulty information to justify supporting increased regulations on energy production. Here’s hoping this year’s election season debates in Colorado are much more fact-filled than frack-frightened.