True, the extreme voices in most debates get more media attention, but what the public really wants, and eventually demands, is common ground.
Just ask 67 percent of voters in a recent Bipartisan Policy Center survey, who indicated they want people to “work across party lines and engage in give-and-take to try to come up with solutions.”
Today, there are few better examples of common ground than energy – specifically, the tremendous increase in homegrown oil and natural gas production made possible by hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
Elected officials from both parties – and from the president on down – have correctly noted the positive impact that this renewed American drive for energy independence is having on the U.S. economy.
On June 24th, residents in Loveland will be asked to vote on a false choice being presented to them when they receive a local ballot concerning whether or not to ban fracking.
As governors, we’ve had the privilege of learning firsthand that oil and natural gas is being responsibly developed in Colorado. We recently joined Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED) to make sure more Coloradans know about the great things happening right here in our own state.
And we feel obligated to publicly reject this false choice being presented to Colorado’s voters— that we have to choose either energy production or a pristine environment. The truth is we can have both.
Fracking isn’t a political belief; it’s a technology.
In Colorado, it’s used to open tiny fractures in deep shale formations, which are trapped below a mile or more of solid rock. Fracking lasts just a few days and takes place after a well has been drilled, reinforced with multiple steel and cement barriers, and tested to ensure the water table near the surface is protected. Water, sand and a tiny percentage of chemical additives are injected thousands of feet down the well until there’s enough pressure to crack the shale and access the oil and gas trapped inside. Without those cracks, the oil and gas cannot flow into the well.
Fracking was pioneered in the 1940s and has been closely studied, tightly regulated and constantly improved by experts inside and outside the industry. It’s been safely used more than a million times across the nation.
The oil and natural gas industry isn’t perfect – no industry is. But the so-called debate over fracking is nowhere near as controversial as Loveland residents have been told by “ban fracking” groups campaigning in our state.
There’s too much fear, division and political ideology in Colorado’s fracking debate. Together, we can go the extra mile and let’s work together to make good decisions based on the facts.
Former Colorado governors Roy Romer and Bill Owens are co-chairs of Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED).