Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guest Post: Weld County Commissioner Doug Rademacher responds to Representative Jared Polis' FRACKED article

Weld County Commissioner Doug Rademacher submitted this guest blog in response to Representative Jared Polis' FRACKED article.  Well done Commissioner Rademacher!

After reading the recent article in the paper written by Congressman Jared Polis, I was compelled to respond. As a fourth generation Farmer/Rancher of Weld County, I can attest the oil and gas industry has been a critical part of Weld County’s heritage for the past 70 years and beyond.

Congressman Polis’ assertion that there are health risks associated with the industry is unfounded, even after many attempts to anecdotally make a connection. He claims that air emissions are making people ill – where are the studies to back up his claims?  On the other hand, you can look to the multiple studies recently commissioned by the Town of Erie to prove their air is safe, despite nearby oil and gas operations. He also claims the industry has de-valued the property in Weld County, which is again contrary to the real data.  
His constant attack on the practice of “fracking” is losing credibility, especially when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and most recently, the Department of Energy (DOE), continually claim the practice is safe.  This is by the current administration which is looking for any excuse to stop the industry.  It shows a lack of common sense on the Congressman’s part.  

The fact remains that over one million wells have been “fracked” across this nation and not one single hydraulic fracturing operation has been shown to contaminate the ground water.  Instead, hydraulic fracturing has led to lower bills for consumers, a renaissance for manufacturers, and a 20-year-low in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., due to less reliance on coal-powered electricity plants.

The oil and gas industry has taken many steps to improve their practices to make operations as environmentally friendly as any other industry that produces energy.  So, is it the mission of Congressman Polis to improve the industry, or to stop it completely? If it is to stop an industry currently creating wealth and jobs, while loosening the grip of the Middle East, is he in favor of sending our young men and women over to fight for something we can produce safely in this country?

Perhaps he would be willing to live without the convenience which fossil fuels bring to his daily life.  He could start by not driving any vehicles, because even the electric cars require electricity to function. He should also forgo the jet rides he enjoys at our expense and start riding a horse back and forth to Washington.  Would he be willing stop buying anything made from plastic and rubber or the medicines and cosmetics made from fossil fuel? I doubt it very much, but if so, I hear there are some caves in Rocky Mountain National Park which he could reside in.  

It is important to acknowledge and mitigate the risks of our energy development, and in Weld County we put significant effort toward doing so.  However, continuing to base a dialogue on groundless assertions with no factual evidence, such as Congressman Polis’ frequent sentiments, is unproductive and damaging to this state’s economic vitality and our country’s energy security.  But then let’s not let the facts get in the way of the truth… 

Weld County Commissioner
Douglas Rademacher

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