Better to be safe than sorry

To the editor,

Colorado Proposition 112 “Safer Setbacks” is simple, direct and clear. It mandates a buffer zone of 2,500 feet between fracking operations and homes, schools and water sources.

Locally, Proposition 112 would have prevented (or reduced) the very troublesome impacts of fracking operations on a couple living southeast of Durango with two wells on their land, as reported in (

Safer Setbacks seem sensible to me. Local incidents, research and personal experience continue to raise stronger and stronger concerns about the dangers of fracking operations: risk of explosions and fires; excessive use of precious water; numerous detrimental health issues for people living within the currently allowed 500-foot buffer zone such as low birth weight babies, eight times heightened cancer risk, respiratory impacts, noxious odors, unacceptable noise and vibrations from truck traffic, floodlights at night; negative contribution to climate change; not to mention a delay in creating a just transition to renewable energy sources.

I believe in the precautionary principle that “when an activity raises threats of harm to the environment or human health, precautionary measures must be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not yet scientifically fully established.”

This is the common-sense idea behind many wise sayings: “Be careful.” “Better safe than sorry.” “Look before you leap.” “First do no harm.”

Let’s decide that Colorado should be safer rather than sorrier. Vote yes on Proposition 112.

– Dr. Cedar Barstow, Boulder