Back in the late 1970’s, in the era of gas lines, when some of my friends would get up early to sell doughnuts to those waiting in line, Bob Hope was in a TV commercial holding up a piece of shale that was on fire. He talked about the vast deposits of shale in the United States that could be used to supply energy in the future.
As a boy of around 12 seeing this commercial, while watching people wait in gas lines resulting from the latest unrest in the Middle East, I asked my wise grandfather, a retired petroleum engineer, whether Bob Hope was right about all this shale in the U.S. that could supply our energy and, if he was, why were we not using it. My grandfather told me that what Bob Hope said was right about it being there, the problem however was a lack of technology to get it out in an economically feasible way.
What was a dream 30 years ago is now a reality with modern hydraulic fracturing. Through advances in technology we now have the ability to extract the great energy reserves from the ground around us, which can provide tremendous economic benefits for our community in the future. The wealth that can literally be pulled from the ground is transferred into the tangible benefits of more resources for our schools, parks, loans for small business and the many other vital parts of our community that can only thrive when there is a strong economic base to pay for them.
It is a good rule of thumb to be skeptical of arguments that need to resort to either emotional appeals or questioning the motives of those that disagree. It has been common for those arguing for bans on hydraulic fracturing to appeal to caring about children’s health as if those in our community who question the wisdom of such a ban care less about children. When anyone in a position of authority pushes back against those that demand that hydraulic fracturing be banned they are often accused of being indifferent to the health of our community and being in the pockets of industry. That these vicious accusations are made should cause one to question the strength of the underlying argument of those pushing for such a ban. It was not long ago that Longmont had much less toleration for this lack of civility in discourse.
Please don’t let anyone tell you that to resist those who urge bans on hydraulic fracturing and to stand up without apology for using the resources we have to benefit this community means you somehow care less than others about this community or the health of our children. This is not a choice between economic benefits and a healthy community. Stonewall Jackson once said, “never take counsel of your fears.” Unfortunately on this subject there has been a great deal said to kindle people’s fears and to divide this community.
I will close with a quote on this subject. “The U.S. has vast reserves of natural gas that are commercially viable as a result of advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies enabling greater access to gas in shale formations. Responsible development of America’s shale gas resources, offers important economic, energy security and environmental benefits”. Sounds like something from an industry publication. Actually, this came right off the website of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. I urge my fellow citizens and neighbors to learn more about this subject and see the great future for our community that can be gained from using the resources we have been blessed with.