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Something in the water

To the Editors;

On Feb. 8, the Sociology Club at Fort Lewis showed a film targeting the oil and gas industry and all the problems it continues to cause throughout our region. The name of the film is “Split Estate.” People in our surrounding areas of the San Juan Basin are suffering immensely due to the pollution and chemicals the industry is single-handedly emitting from drilling (mainly the fracturing method, aka fracking). Ninety percent of fracking fluids contain toxins creating health problems. Creeks, streams and rivers in the area have gas escaping through bubbling vents, and if one were to strike a match, the bubbles would burn right in the middle of the creek. One of the chemicals they found existing in these waters is benzene, a cancer-causing ingredient. The industry, after so many complaints, put a pipe system across the creek, which indeed removed the benzene from the water, but then it evaporated into the air for the surrounding community to breathe in! It is absolutely repulsive.

As one can imagine, water contamination has become a huge problem throughout independent households that are even remotely close to the thousands of drilling sites. A couple living in a house not far from a drilling site left a glass of their tap water to sit overnight as an experiment. The next morning they found an oil-like film across the surface. They then lit a match to it, and it set afire! This is water that they drink, bathe in, wash dishes and laundry with. Some of the health problems related to drilling in our area are: colds, asthma, lung infections and various respiratory problems; sinus, skin and eye irritation; itchy and4 burning skin; dizziness and nausea – sometimes leading to shaking and collapsing; bloody noses, eyes and urine; kidney damage; cardiovascular damage; loss of sight; various tumors (including a rare adrenal gland tumor); speech impairment; loss of memory; nerve damage and pain in hands and feet. As one can guess the oil and gas industry denies everything and is doing absolutely nothing about this. What’s worse: they plan to drill another 10,000 wells in the next four to five years and surely thousands to thousands more to come.

Rather than independent households suffering from water contamination, I fear that within the next few years entire communities will be suffering noticeably, thus leading to a high demand for clean water. There is much to be done to alter the direction the oil and gas industry is headed. As of right now, 85 percent of Colorado landowners do not own rights to minerals on their land, and there could be any of the 10,000 possible chemicals used worldwide contaminating their drinking water. I encourage everyone to get as involved as possible. It’s never too late for change. Please visit www.splitestate.com for further information.  

– Meg Engle, Durango

Get the lowdown

Dear Editors:

The League of Women Voters of La Plata County will hold its annual Legislative Lowdown on Sat., Feb. 20, from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. in the Peaks Rooms at the Durango Recreation Center.

Sen. Bruce Whitehead and Rep. Ellen Roberts will discuss current legislative issues and the potential impacts to you as residents of Senate District 6 and House District 59. Sen. Whitehead is vice-chair of the Agriculture, Natural Resources & Energy Committee, and a member of the Transportation Committee. Representative Roberts is a member of the Health & Human Services Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Legal Services Committee. The major issue facing Colorado is the projected $2.1 billion state budget shortfall. 

The League of Women Voters is pleased to announce that February 2010 marks its 90th anniversary.  Join us as we celebrate with cake and coffee at this informative event. This is your opportunity to meet your legislators and ask questions.  

– Stephanie Huss, president, League of Women Voters  of La Plata County

Real beauty

Dear Editors,

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is Feb. 21-27, 2010. Eating disorders are on the rise affecting all people regardless of their race, culture, age or sex. Humans come in many shapes and sizes and so do eating disorders. Education and awareness about eating disorders are fundamental in preventing them. Take the time to look at the National Eating Disorders Association for more information and bring some discussion to your family and peers about the dangers and signs of eating disorders. Eating disorders are real and they kill!!! This week, challenge yourself to embrace your body and all that it has to offer. Continue this year to find peace within yourself for that is where real beauty lies.

– Warmly, Kathryn Catsman, Durango




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