Monday, July 8, 2013

Where Do The Children Play?

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than
 the way in which it treats its children." 
 ~Nelson Mandela~

Remember that old Cat Stevens song, 'Where do the children play?' written in the 70s when urbanization devoured the natural spaces where kids used to play? A similar thing, but much worse, is happening now with the industrialization of towns, as multiple gas wells are drilled near homes, and schools!

Greeley already has over 400 gas wells and many more are planned. These installations with flares, gas separators and condensation tanks, emit noxious fumes that are unhealthy to breathe, and the 'flowback' water from fracking that needs to be disposed of contains harmful substances as well.

Dr. Theo Colborn and others found that 37% of the chemicals used during drilling, fracturing and production were found to be volatile, with the ability to become airborne.

Of those:
  • 81% can cause harm to the the brain and nervous system
  • 71% can harm the cardiovascular system and the blood
  • 66% can harm the kidneys
So, where then will the children of Frontier Academy play  if the Greeley Planning Commission, and Greeley City Council allow 67 gas wells to be drilled just 350 ft away from their playground and garden?

Overview of the Frontier Academy playground and garden.  In the distance 
(center in photo) is the Walmart building.

Will it be safe for them to be outdoors during the 24/7 drilling process which involves fumes from diesel engines, lots of truck traffic, and later also the dangers of silica exposure from the many tons of sand needed for the fracturing?

Diesel engine at Island Grove .

After the wells are completed, 32 oil tanks and gas separators will be located only 500 ft away. It is shocking to think that our city council members condone this, and willfully ignore a study by Dr. Lisa McKenzie, that shows that people living within half a mile of just a single gas well are at higher risk for health issues, including cancer, than people living farther away.

Frontier gardening shed decorated with children's hand prints.

Frontier's kids and staff will be spending several hours a day within just one tenth of a mile radius of 67 wells, and so will many Walmart employees. Half a mile out from the site still reaches many residents who live in the Evans neighborhood, south of 32nd street, people shopping at the Greeley Mall, and even students attending Brentwood Middle School..

The Greeley Geographic Information Systems map below shows the proposed drill site as a red X and the half mile distance to Brentwood Middle School..

See what such a mega site will look like if we do not protest it!

As a community we should do what we can to safeguard kids from the harm that can come from being too close to gas and oil wells.  Join Weld Air and Water to stay informed and take action.

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