I am writing to you today to urge you to protect the residents of Battlement Mesa and vote no on the three special use permits to drill 53 natural gas wells on two pads and build a pipeline within Battlement Mesa.
In October, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a study of more than 10,000 pregnancies. The study links living near active drilling and fracking operations with a much higher risk of premature births.
Earlier this year, Physicians, Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy conducted an analysis of more than 400 peer-reviewed studies on the impacts of oil and gas development. The analysis found 96 percent of studies published on the health impacts of oil and gas development show potential risks or adverse health outcomes, and that children are especially vulnerable to air pollution from oil and gas development.
Concerned Health Professionals of New York issued a 2,000 page report, detailing health risks and impacts, leading to a statewide ban on high-volume fracking.
In the final report of Garfield County’s own HIA, the executive summary stated: “The key findings of our study are that (the) health of the Battlement Mesa residents will most likely be affected by chemical exposures, accidents or emergencies resulting from industry operations and stress-related community changes.”
Air pollution caused by ambient BTEXS (benzene-toluene-ethylbenzene-xylene-styrene) emissions from oil and gas operations in or near neighborhoods is a clear threat to residents’ health and safety. No one should have to fear for their health and safety.
Even I didn’t fully understand the seriousness of the human health risks caused by ambient BTEXS emissions until I became sick.
In April 2014, blood and urine samples were collected from me, my daughter Ema, and my granddaughter Hailey who was 12 years old at the time. They also lived in Silt, just 8 blocks away.
Dr. Greg Dooley at the Colorado State University lab conducted the testing. The urine samples for all three of us tested positive for the metabolites for ethylbenzene, xylene, toluene, and styrene. Hailey’s blood also tested positive for those 4 chemicals.
Hailey had suffered through nosebleeds almost daily from the time she was 8 years old. She and her brother Bodi endured chronic sore throats and upper respiratory infections.
Ema moved Hailey and Bodi out of Silt last spring. Hailey has not suffered from even one bloody nose since she moved away from Silt. No sore throats or upper respiratory infections for either child since they moved.
For nearly two years my body has been besieged by 9 different bacterial infections. Last summer, I underwent DNA testing. The results were analyzed by a DNA researcher and a toxicologist. The two most significant things the analysis revealed are:
Number 1: My body is unable to process BTEXS
Number 2: My immune system is not functioning because my body is contaminated with BTEXS caused by cumulative, prolonged exposure.
Without a functioning immune system my body is unable to fend off the normal bacteria that our bodies are exposed to on a daily basis.
While it’s true that Silt is surrounded by oil and gas operation, there are no well pads inside city limits. Yet my immune system failed due to an overload of ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, and styrene in my liver and kidneys caused by prolonged exposure to ambient BTEXS from oil and gas operations.
If my health can be devastated like this from ambient BTEXS, just imagine what it will be like for Battlement Mesa residents living only thousands of feet from not one but two large-scale multi-well facilities, with pipelines running through their backyards. They will be constantly exposed to even higher levels of ambient BTEXS emissions than they are now from existing oil and gas operations outside the PUD.
Many Battlement Mesa residents have testified to the planning commission that they are already suffering with health problems related to living near oil and gas operations.
I am not implying that the Battlement Mesa residents “might” get sick from exposure to ambient BTEXS emissions caused by oil and gas operations. I am forewarning you: They will get sick!
No human being deserves to be sentenced to a life plagued with poor health because of toxic chemicals in the air we breathe.
It is your duty and your obligation to protect the health and safety of ALL the residents of Garfield County.
Again, I urge you in the strongest possible terms to vote no on the three special use permits to drill 53 natural gas wells on two pads and build a pipeline within Battlement Mesa.
Garfield County commissioners will convene Tuesday morning in Battlement Mesa for a public hearing on proposals by Ursa Resources to drill within the unincorporated community.
And if prior meetings before the county’s planning commission are any indication, the commissioners could be in for a long meeting on an issue that remains controversial among some residents …
You can help protect Battlement Mesa from oil and gas development. Become a member of Grand Valley Citizens Alliance or make a donation to help protect Battlement Mesa — or both! Click here to make your donation.