Don't buy oil & gas' propaganda

To the editor,

After reading Tracy Chamberlain’s article in the Telegraph about Prop 112 I felt I needed to respond. This article at first seems fair and balanced but it left me thinking that Tracy is writing in favor of oil and gas and in opposition to Prop 112. There were no quotes from the proponents of Prop 112 only from Christi Zeller who works for the oil and gas industry. Nor was there any mention of the multiple scientific studies demonstrating the negative health impacts of living or working in close proximity to oil and gas wells. Nor was the fact mentioned that some  of these wells have exploded recently killing and poisoning Coloradans and safer setbacks are needed for a safer evacuation distance. Nor is there any mention that the U.N. just released a report that says fossil fuels are a threat to civilization and that we need to immediately reduce our reliance on these sources if we are going to continue living on this planet. The argument made in this article is that the oil and gas companies won’t have  anywhere to drill in Colorado and they will have to keep poisoning us with the 50,000 wells they already have!

The other argument quoted from the oil and gas industry is that tax revenue will decrease if Prop 112 passes claiming, “La Plata County will lose millions of dollars in tax revenue.” This article fails to mention that the oil and gas industry will continue paying as little taxes as possible, and as the oil and gas industry is phased out and other sources of energy are produced, the tax burden will shift to those industries. Nor does this article mention how we prop up the oil and gas industry with not only our health but with our tax dollars, going to road repair and construction, health care, emergencies, and drill site clean up. As we turn this beautiful planet into a wasteland, I am sure we will be happy with our decision to keep those tax dollars flowing from oil and gas; we couldn’t possibly get tax revenue from anywhere else. This is a false trap created by an insidious industry.

The only reason that the oil and gas companies are able to make such excessive profit is because they externalize their costs. Who pays those costs? Not only the residents of Colorado, who pay with their health, health care costs and tax dollars, but also the employees of the oil and gas industry who risk their health and lives so these companies can make millions, for example the Koch brothers.

Multiple studies in multiple states have confirmed the ill effects of living and working close to oil and gas well sites. Oil and gas production is not only detrimental to our health, it is jeopardizing life on this planet. We have to cut back on fossil fuels in favor of energy sources that will not put our health and the health of future generations at risk. As we shut down the fossil fuel industry, we will have the ability to build a stronger economy with better, safer and more resilient energy and jobs that benefit the whole and not just the few.

Please think critically about this issue and don’t believe the propaganda. Please do some research, look at who is funding both sides, look at the articles about Prop 112 in Reuters and U.S. News and World Report, as well as the U.N.

report on fossil fuels. The oil and gas industry has spent over $20 million trying to fight this while concerned citizens in favor have raised about $1 million. I encourage you to vote against the Koch brothers and this industry that is poisoning us for profit, and vote YES on Prop 112.

– Brian Gaddy, Durango