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Protect air quality; vote yes on Proposition 112

It is generally recognized that fracking releases cancer-causing volatile organic compounds such as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and formaldehyde. A recent Colorado study found that concentrations of benzene and other pollutants were three to nine times higher within a half a mile of an oil/gas well than farther away.

A yearlong study by Theo Colborn in the International Journal involved weekly tests of air quality 0.7 miles from a well pad in the Front Range and detected VOCs spanning multiple stages of well drilling and production.

Ozone is the second leading cause of lung cancer and even in relatively low doses has been shown to have lethal health impacts. For example, in 2017, every Front Range county and Rio Blanco County received an “F” rating in air quality from the American Lung Association; oil and gas development was second only to cars and trucks in terms of culpability. The Denver Business Journal also declared in 2017 that oil and gas fumes are the primary contributor to ground-level ozone between Boulder and Fort Collins.

Finally, pollutants and toxic fumes travel great distances from well sites. A Boulder County study in May 2018 found that Weld County pollutants blow readily into Boulder County. The same measurement equipment detected an extremely high level of toxic gases at the Boulder Reservoir immediately prior to a well explosion in Windsor more than 30 miles away.

Clearly, much of Colorado’s air quality is abysmal. Please vote yes, if you haven’t already, on Prop 112 to help bring about healthier “fresh mountain air.”

Tom Stumpf, Longmont

Consider this on Proposition 112

Still undecided on Proposition 112? Consider:

Is it OK with you that out-of-state corporations have used brute financial force to smother the voice of Colorado citizens who are simply trying to protect their homes and families from poison, fires and explosions?

Is it OK with you to let the distance between your home and a fracking site remain 500 feet, even though the average emergency evacuation zone from a well blow-out is over 4,000 feet?

Is it OK with you that oil and gas tries to scare you with Chicken Little “sky is falling” claims about jobs and the economy, when the industry really represents only 1 percent of the jobs and 5 percent of the economy? (Our outdoor industry provides 10 times the number of jobs. And when fracking destroys the outdoors, what then?)

Is it OK with you that the oil and gas industry and their apologists duck the question of health and safety? Or, if they do talk about health and safety, is it OK with you that they follow the playbook of tobacco companies by suggesting that the harms to health are not proven? Even when there are over 700 peer-reviewed studies on health impacts, and over 80 percent of them document actual risk and harm?

Is it OK with you that the industry has cynically sponsored an amendment (74) that puts industry in the driver’s seat and could bankrupt local governments?

If any of these are not OK with you, vote yes on 112 and no on 74.

Chris Hoffman, Boulder

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