Our county government should consider more the interest and welfare of its citizens and itself. Our commissioners support the fracking development that has recently surged, but they did no cost/benefit analysis or assessment of risks and costs. We're talking about a threat much bigger than chicken farms. Our decision makers should leave the headwaters of the North Fork and Gunnison Rivers alone in this case. The area is geologically unstable, a national treasure, 50 million Americans live downstream, most Americans eat from the enormous acreage of crop land that would be directly affected, and the livelihood and high quality food of the county's headwaters would be compromised. Fracking ruptures methane from the shale layer; it rises and contaminates the aquifer above. Dozens of spills and accidents have happened in multiple Colorado counties just this year.
We should look to the Gunnison Public Lands Initiative. With their broad public and political support, they have helped ensure sound land management. Their work appeals across demographics and political aisles. We too should collaborate and stand up for leaders who consider and support our rights. Citizens for a Healthy Community has done the county's work in assessing how the proposed NFMMDP fracking project would affect Delta County finances. Without analyzing or looking at environmental and social risks, the report shows a sizable negative impact to our county's budget if fracking is implemented. Economic accounting leaves out quality of life, health of land and its wild occupants, and the inherent value of children and the future. Safe, renewable energy technology abounds. Computing everything in terms of money isn't realistic. Fracking our headwaters doesn't work for us or our county. Let's leave the unhealthy and corrupt parts of our past behind and creatively and proactively collaborate.
Two fatal accidents occurred in Delta County within a two-day span last week.
Casey Gillenwater, 25, of Delta was killed the afternoon of Wednesday, Sept. 13, in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 133 outside of Hotchkiss.