We moved to Erie from Boulder County after we both retired in 2015. We were attracted to the incredible views of the back range, our great neighbors and neighborhood, and the bike path we used daily.
We were vaguely aware of fracking and the narrative that this was a “clean” industry benefiting Colorado communities. Our experience with fracking has led us to believe this is an incredibly dangerous and damaging industry that has no place adjacent to neighborhoods.
We could never have imagined that drilling sites and well complexes could be located so close to neighborhoods, much less that we would be subjected to noise and emissions and shaking for most of a year – noise that sounded like a helicopter outside our windows day and night – disrupting our sleep the entire time. There were emissions that burned our eyes and throats until we resorted to air cleaners and masks in our own homes. Complaints to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment were met with air quality testing AFTER a reported event – and their report indicated nothing dangerous was found. The emissions went on, at night, on the weekends, and most notably Christmas morning 2016 at 6 a.m. the air was thick with something that made it difficult to breathe. By the time anyone came out to investigate after the holiday, the air had cleared. Research indicates there are thousands of gallons of chemicals used to frack a single well, and in Erie we are surrounded by well after well after well – releasing methane, carbon dioxide, radon, and dozens of other chemicals into the air we breathe.
My husband, a semi-pro bicyclist, avid outdoorsman, hiker, skier and traveler was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in the Fall of 2017 – his symptoms began months earlier – during the drilling. His active life has been completely taken away. Coincidence? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.
We have been told repeatedly that the noise and emissions from these sites is temporary. There is nothing temporary about what our community has experienced as one “temporary” site is immediately followed by another. It is unconscionable and extremely sad. With the vast unpopulated spaces available in Colorado, and the miles pipelines are apparently able to be placed, it is incredible that these sites are located across the street from our families. Our town and our lives have been immeasurably degraded by this industry. Erie’s minuscule financial gain is nothing in comparison to the harm.