What. The. Frack.
As of late, itís a common subject line, and itís slowly losing its humor because itís not funny anymore.
The Valley has been fracked, and it doesnít feel good. There is something a bit too forceful about injecting. Its association with sickness is uncanny, like a junky desperate to reach that point of no return again and again and again. It will leave a mark, an itchy scar that will remind of times before there were reasons to tally up the fallout.
The fracking happened so fast, and so legally. First Liberty Energy (FLE) informed the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission they intended to frack in 48 hours. That was all they had to do. It didnít matter the company said that fracking was not part of the plan when the contract was, however, still unsigned. The lawyer was slick, and earned her keep that day when the Rio Grande County Commissioners took a gamble. She never fully committed to a natural withdraw, and now FLE exercises its blessed American rights to utilize the latest and greatest hydrocarbon extraction technique on the market.
Of course, latest and greatest is subjective, but it begs the question of how anyone along the chain could have let this go so far knowing the powerful history behind oil and gas exploration. For example, FLE was sold Valley water on at least two occasions with a level of intention disclosed. Would it have been too bold a move to withhold the resource until there was a signed commitment not to frack? Or, forever because the Valleyís water is a precious resource no matter the amount, and its scarcity and ongoing demand doesnít need to compete with preventable contamination or, by chance, sudden ignition.
Fracking definitely was not part of the countyís plan. Rio Grande County Commissioner Karla Shriverís voice quivered last week when stating the Valleyís water was of utmost concern, recalling attempts to persuade FLE to see what would happen without force, and then leave it at that. She knew it was possible, but wanted to believe in $100,000 worth of hydrogeological evidence, and the word of man and the chance to offer a livelihood in a land that on some days seems to be losing possibilities.
A month ago, things were going as planned. They drilled the well to 9,000 feet and cased 200 feet below the aquifer, as agreed. Peterson Energy was surprisingly welcoming, demonstrating the marvels of science that in person didnít seem so terrible. Up close, it was amazing to witness man tackle nature with an exactness that if ignored had fatal consequences. The energy it takes to capture energy to fuel 21st century life leaves an impression, a reality check and a desire to find a balance between resource, greed and evolution.
Modern prophecy is fulfilled, and all attempts to find humor in the dismay are failing.
What. The. Frack. Itís no joke, but our reality and itís not going as planned. Thatís the fracking truth.