Archives for posts with tag: gas drilling

From the Colorado Independent:

At least 22 toxic chemicals, including four known human carcinogens, were found in nine separate air samples taken near natural gas drilling operations by community advocacy and environmental groups in Garfield and La Plata counties in Colorado and the San Juan Basin of New Mexico, according to a new report from Global Community Monitor.

Entitled “GASSED! Citizen Investigation of Natural Gas Development (pdf),” the report details how the air samples, taken near homes, playgrounds, schools and community centers, were analyzed by a certified lab.

“Carcinogenic chemicals like benzene and acrylonitrile should not be in the air we breathe – and certainly not at these highly alarming levels,” said Dr. Mark Chernaik. “These results suggest neighboring communities are not being protected and their long-term health is being put at risk.”

As part of the air-quality study, neighbors of natural gas drilling operations were asked to record various chemical odors, sample the air quality and appeal to various regulators to investigate complaints.

“My husband, pets, and I have experienced respiratory and other health-related problems during the 12 years we have lived on Cow Canyon Road in La Plata County, Colo.,” Jeri Montgomery said of nearby natural gas development. “We believe these health issues are related to the air quality in our neighborhood and in the area.”

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From New West:

Residents of Battlement Mesa, a sprawling housing development in western Colorado, are used to seeing the golf course from their windows, not gas rigs. But when an energy company announced plans to start drilling inside the subdivision, residents became concerned not just about the noise and the traffic, but the health effects of air and water pollution.

“I can understand gas drilling,” says Bob Arrington, a retired engineer and former bed-and-breakfast owner who bought a home in Battlement Mesa three years ago, when gas drilling amid the residential development was the farthest thing from his mind. “But when they go into urban areas, I think they have a much higher obligation to mitigate and protect the health of people than when they’re operating out in the boondocks.”

He and other neighbors asked Garfield County to fund a heath impact assessment to see if any health harms might come from the drilling operations. They received a blunt answer. Researchers found air emissions from natural gas operations will probably make some residents sick.

“The key findings of our study are that health of the Battlement Mesa residents will most likely be affected by chemical exposures, accidents or emergencies resulting from industry operations and stress-related community changes,” researchers concluded.

Industry representatives have long downplayed the health risks of emissions from natural gas operations, but this assessment, performed by the Colorado School of Public Health, insisted that drilling operations have already harmed the air in Garfield County, and that new operations in a dense subdivision could bring more impacts.

Without proper pollution prevention measures, researchers found, air pollution will likely “be high enough to cause short-term and long-term disease, especially for residents living near wells. Health effects may include respiratory disease, neurological problems, birth defects and cancer.”

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