Carefully study proposed leases...
Aug 30, 2012 | 1145 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I would like to respond to Paula Bertwell’s letter from last week, which was in support of approving new oil and gas leases near Moab.

First of all, the phrase, “The oil companies have regulations and safety procedures to follow. They are not going to jeopardize Moab or the water...” is laughably naïve. The potential effects of hydraulic fracking on ground water are real and well documented.

By now, most of us have seen the clips shown on many national news outlets of people lighting their tap water on fire. Do we know these wells would produce that result? No. But isn’t it reasonable to study the potential effects before we allow drilling within the boundaries of Moab’s aquifer?

Ms. Bertwell’s letter came across to me more like a personal attack than a well-informed opinion. She criticizes Kiley Miller’s letter from the week prior, and anyone who may be alarmed, emotional or overreacting to the threat of oil and gas drilling, by saying, basically, if you don’t like it then leave. I feel like I’ve been running into this attitude a lot in Moab lately. Something along the lines of, “I’m more local than you, so shut up.”

I’ve only lived here for 18 years and I come and go a lot, so I’m not sure if I’m entitled to this opinion, but I think these oil and gas leases should be looked at very carefully. Certainly, they should not be fast-tracked. The BLM is establishing a comment period from late September to late October, and you are free to comment, whether your family has been here one year or a hundred.

Some oil and gas development in the area is obviously a fact of life, but not all drill sites are created equal. If they fall within the Moab and Spanish Valley drinking watershed, they may pose a threat to our most precious resource.

Please ask the BLM to do a full environmental impact statement and allow plenty of time in the process before we allow an irreversible mistake.

–Mike Bassett


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