By Erie Resident: Rick Hodge
My wife & I moved to Erie from Westminster in July last year. We bought a home in Erie Commons that we love. One of the main reasons we chose to buy this house in this location was because of the peace and quiet.
One night recently, before we left for a short vacation, I commented to my wife how tranquil it was as we lay in bed listening to a pair of great horned owls that liked to perch in the cottonwood trees adjacent to our home, and the coyote pups yelping the the distance.
When we retuned home from our vacation we noticed an intrusive industrial noise in our immediate neighborhood that we had never heard before. It was a hydraulic fracking drilling platform that had been set up seemingly overnight.
Not only does this “fracking thing” make noise at all hours of the day & night, but I am concerned about the possible pollution that it may be emitting into the air and water table.
I realize that their are environmental groups and government agencies that are monitoring fracking to see how safe it is. I applaud their efforts.
My wife and I have no children living at home with us. That said, I am a conerned citizen for all families raising children in the shadow of this noisy, and possibly unheathly, industrial drilling eyesore.
There is a housing community adjacent to ours with houses that literally back right up to the drilling facility. We drove over there after we returned from our vacation to see just what these home owners were having to contend with. We found that the drilling facility was lit up like Coors Field at night, and the noise, being so close to the drill was ridiculously loud. With their master bedroom likely being on the backside of the houses i wondered how these people could even sleep with the glaring lights and the noise they must have to contend with.
When one considers that our homes are usually our largest investment, I felt like these homeowners had been done a great disservice. Their property values must surely have suffered. I cannot imagine who would consider buying a home that backs up against such a facility. How does one enjoy their backyard, especially in the evenings, when thy have to contend with bright lights and industrial noise, not to mention the concern regarding air quality.
I consider it rude, uncaring behavior on the part of any company that would build such a facility so close to a neighborhood where people have invested their hard earned money in a home, where many are raising small children. Such a lack of concern for the welfare and investments of citizens smacks of a completed lack of social conscience on the part of the company who chose that site for their fracking operation.
I believe that I am a realist. I understand that we need oil and gas energy to drive our economy. While I believe we have been negligent in failing to ween ourselves off foreign oil. I believe we need to become more self-suffient when it comes to energy production in the US. And IF we find that fracking is not harmful to the environment I would understand the need to create the energy that such an industry produces.
However, placing such facilities near (or on top of!) residential housing developments seems completely irresponsible to me!
I wondered if any citizens were as aggravated about this as I am. I hadn’t seen any evidence of people with torches and pitchforks in the streets. Yet I did not believe my reaction could be different from many other area residents.
When I noticed that a group calling itself “Erie Rising” was being mentioned in several articles that I recently ready (including the Denver Post’s business section on Sunday, May 6th, 2012) I had my answer. There are like-minded citizens, like me, who believe that clear air, clear water, and a lack of noise pollution are things that we have a right to expect when we decide to buy homes and live in a quiet, peaceful, healthy place such as my neighborhood was prior to the fracking platform appearing on the scene.
I applaud your efforts to remind others that if there is a possibility of damage to the environment and to the health of its citizens (young and old alike) corportions have a responsibility to behave with a social conscience, and not endanger the public due to an uncaring attitude for anything but the pursuit of profit.
If we must have fracking it is reasonable for citizens to expect that our regulatory agencies, – local, state and federal – ensure the safety of such industires for the public good.
Also, such fracking operations should be build in areas that are not adjacent to residential neighborhoods. That is simply common sense.
I didn’t move to Erie to listen to a fracking drill day and night. I much prefer the sounds of the owls and the coyotes.
As an aside, let me say that if I find that our Mayor was pro-fracking before he was anti-fracking, due to his concern about losing votes in the recent election, I will do everything I can to help unseat him prior to the next election. This I need to look into more fully, as I admit that I am unclear as to what his psoition on fracking has been down through time.
Thanks for reading such a long-winded disertation. I simply needed to vent, and am unsure how best to proceed.
I will say, however, that next week I hope to stop by City Hall and determine whether the fracking site is on private property, as I suspect it is. If so, there may not have been anything the Town of Erie could do about the location of the fracking operation that is adjacent to Erie Commons.
If anyone can enlighten me on how this fracking facility was permitted next to our housing development in the first place I would be grateful. It just seems unbelievable to me that the company responsible was allowed to build it where they did.
Also, if anyone can tell me whether it will eventually be moved (as I have been told by a couple of people) I would appreciate it. I figured it is now a permanent part of the landscape.