Another Anti-Fracking Talking Point Discredited
A key talking point of the “ban fracking” activists has been rebuked by a report that recently appeared on Colorado Public Radio (CPR). For years, activists have suggested that hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) is a water intensive process, using that argument as justification for the practice to be shut down. Activists charge that not only is fracking drying up our water supplies, it is making water more expensive for farmers and other consumers.
Despite the fact that statewide, fracking uses less than 0.1 percent of total water consumption in Colorado, claims persist that this process is decimating our water supply. Now, CPR’s reporting has shed important light on how the process is benefiting local communities’ water infrastructure, as well as keeping water costs for farmers low:
“But Donna Brosemer, spokesperson for Greeley’s water department, says farmers and industry don’t compete for the same water. She says Greeley, like other cities, prioritizes residents and farmers. The city only sells excess water to oil and gas operators when municipal and agricultural needs have been met.”
Additionally, the CPR article — authored by Lesley McClurg — states that:
“If the city has leftover water it charges the oil and gas industry a much higher price for water. For example, in 2013 farmers paid Greeley $35 for an acre foot of water; the industry paid the city $3,500 dollars for the same amount — about 100 times more.”
“Greeley welcomes the industry’s business and deep pockets because oil and gas dollars help defray costs, and Brosemer says that keeps rates down for everyone else.”
If activists are not swayed by Greeley’s water department, Reagan Waskom, the Director of the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University, also provided some important context:
“Reagan Waskom, the Director of the Colorado Water Institute at Colorado State University, says it’s not that industry is necessarily driving up the cost of water for farming; it’s that water has become so valuable that farmers may find it’s more profitable to sell their water than to grow crops.”
Despite local government and university officials declaring the opposite, Carl Erickson, chair of activist organization Weld Air and Water, stuck to the same old tired talking points. Erickson implied to McClurg and CPR that he is “worried” that family farmers are being outbid by oil and natural gas companies.
Real world experience, research and the facts point to a much different conclusion than the one Carl and other political activists across Colorado have claimed. Unfortunately, this is not the first time “ban fracking” activists have refused to allow facts to get in the way of their foregone conclusions — and it will likely not be the last.