Thank you Bill Barrett

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the Bill Barrett Corporation. Many towns get pretty new parks and recreation centers as gifts from the oil and gas industry. Sometime during the second week of August, Bill Barrett surprised the town of Silt with not one but two flare stacks on Mineota Ridge. By “surprised” I mean no one saw this coming until we saw the flames roaring into our night sky. Now they burn during the daytime, too. A bold move in the midst of one of the deadliest wildfire seasons on record. Leave it to Bill Barrett to flaunt their power over state and local officials. Bet you didn’t know the oil and gas well flares were exempted from all fire bans this summer.

But hey! We are all about economic development in Silt. I can see it now. A new tourist attraction. Forget the awesome Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. We have fire breathing dragons – Smaug and Morgoth. We can have bus tours up Dry Hollow. Someday a tram. Of course gas masks would be optional. According to the oil and gas industry all that H2S, NOX, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, hydrocarbons, and other VOCs spewing from the flare stacks (even when they aren’t burning) go someplace else altogether – like Vernal, Utah where nothing ever happens – and magically disappear.

This year skip the fall colors in the high country. Bor-ring. Leaves change color every year. Come on out to Silt. Our fire-breathing dragons, Smaug and Morgoth will overwhelm your senses. BYOGM – bring your own gas masks!


I sent the above to the Post Independent as a letter to the editor. Let’s see if they publish it. But I was just getting warmed up. Here’s the extended version — the part I know they won’t publish:

Meet Smaug. He is reckless and brazen. He shoots flames more than fifty feet into the air, as he pleases, day or night, as if to say, “Fuck you! What’re you gonna do about it?” And he doesn’t care who sees him. But don’t get too close. His breath is deadly.

Morgoth is the elusive dragon. He might be shy because he’s smaller than Smaug. It’s hard to tell since he has so far only been seen from a distance. He’s behind Smaug so that tells you something, too. I don’t have any photos of Morgoth. Sadly I got too near Smaug and was taken down by his fire-breathing toxins. I have thrown down my cameras. I’m not the one to climb that mountain and stand toe to well pad with Morgoth.

But I do know who could. The folks who own those dragons.

Don’t be so restrained Bill Barrett.  Get your PR people on this right away. Deck out those flare stacks with glow-in-the-dark, metallic scales. Give them the personality they deserve. Don’t stop with light and air pollution. Really drive home your contempt for human beings and the environment. Pump up the noise pollution. Hook up a few amps and broadcast those roaring flames. Blast heavy metal tunes like Megadeth from the well pads. Let’s rock this river valley until the earth shakes.

Come on, Bill Barrett.  Here’s your chance to go all medieval on our asses. If you’re gonna fuck us over like this – and you are – give us something to die for. Give us a goddamn show!

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One Comment on “Thank you Bill Barrett”

  1. Beth Strudley Says:

    All that shit that blows out of the dispersion tanks unfiltered, blows up-valley. That haze you see in the valley right through Glenwood, Carbondale, and Aspen is mostly from these tanks, not car traffic, and not fires. That gunk that lands on the Gaspen Ski Areas is from these tanks. Wait ’til the 880 rigs on Thompson Divide get drilled, then the slopes can officially change their names.

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