WTFrack: Don't Complain About Drilling to Your Lawmakers

February 10 2011, 10:30 AM

When we last checked in on hydraulic fracturing—or "fracking," as it's become known—we learned the controversial drilling process had put roughly 1.3 million gallons of Colorado water at risk in order to extract oil and natural gas. As a result, U.S. Congresswoman Diana DeGette reiterated concern that the specific chemicals used in the process should be made public. A state bill by Representative Roger Wilson, a Democrat from the Western Slope, sought to do less than that: require the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission to submit regular reports to the state regarding complaints it receives over drilling operations. But Republican lawmakers helped kill the bill, writes Westword, insisting that fracking poses no threat to groundwater and, presumably therefore, public health.

The measure had supporters, but the concerns of opponents like Representative J. Paul Brown won out. The Ignacio Republican did not want the Legislature to be responsible for hearing the complaints. "I have a little problem with complaints from the public," he says (via the Durango Herald). Pubic health concerns regarding fracking are at the heart of the documentary Gasland, which has been nominated for an Academy Award, sparking complaints from the natural gas industry, reports the New York Times. The public-health concerns expressed in the film are nothing new, however: In 2005, Panorama contributor Joshua Zaffos co-wrote a feature that exposed "environmental and emotional damage" to Western Slope families whose lives had been impacted by fracking.