As oil and gas production continues to expand by leaps and bounds across the country, more and more people are concerned about the threats to human health and the environment. New organizations are cropping up every place, and their members are not necessarily people who would describe themselves as environmentalists or liberals. Some of these individuals are politically conservative and may even be very supportive of the oil and gas industry or be mineral owners.
For example, a homeowner in Texas stated: "I'm a drill here, drill now, kind of guy, but I want them to do it responsibly and respect property owners." A welder in Colorado stated: "I understand there has to be industry, and I don’t mind the industry being oil and gas or drilling. I in fact support it, but there’s got to be a better way to protect ourselves--a better way of doing the process.” Quotes like these are cropping up all over the place.
In Colorado, 18 organizations just released information on the number of oil and gas-related spills in Colorado each year. According to these organizations, in 2010 and 2011, there were nearly 500 spills per year. That is a frightening number, and newsworthy.
What is also newsworthy is that 16 of the 18 organizations releasing this information are not environmental groups. They include: Commerce City Unity NOW, Elbert County Oil and Gas Interest Group, Longmont Citizens for Responsible Oil and Gas Regulation, Erie Rising, Citizens for Huerfano County, South Park Coalition, What the Frack?!, Coloradoans for Fair Rates and Clean Energy, Citizens for a Healthy Community, Renewable Communities Alliance, Routt County Frack, Be The Change, Rifle-Silt-Peach Valley-New Castle Coalition, and Frack-files.
As the oil and gas industry continues to expand into backyards and schoolyards across the country, leaving in its wake poisoned air, spills, contaminated groundwater, and more, an increasing number of Americans from all along the ideological spectrum will be raising their voices together in opposition to shoddy practices, insufficient rules, and lax enforcement.