We all know that horizontal hydraulic fracturing is taking place nearby because our elected officials are constantly swooning over its benefits: jobs, sales tax revenue, heads in beds. But we also know that fracking is ever so present because of the souvenirs left behind by truckers who haul drill site waste to some unknown destination south of us.
A sludge spill (pictured above) is pretty recognizable; it's dark, viscous, and if you get up close to it you get a whiff of diesel fuel. A light-colored, gravelly material in and around it means that a half-assed cleanup has occurred. But waste spills are a mere inconvenience, collateral damage, and not so much an environmental concern. If it was, our leaders would mention them when discussing everything Eagle Ford Shale. Instead their outlook is of the rose-colored glasses persuasion. They don't see that this sludge is going to end up in the water supply. (Note bridge railing in photo; There's a creek there) They don't talk about people lacking housing because rental rates have shot through the roof in smaller communities. And least of all, they won't address water use during drought conditions.
Communities in Texas, and around the country are taking a stand on fracking activities. We don't have that kind of resolve, not like in Longmont, Colorado.
One recent afternoon, a few supporters who helped get the ban passed drove through town to visit some of the “red sites” — areas that had been leased for drilling, or could be in the future. They drove past public parks, open spaces and golf courses and stopped at the Union Reservoir, still and limpid under a cloudy sky.
Longmont residents don't want fracking in their community, and I don't blame them. If somebody was going to drill a site in my neighborhood, I'd be pretty upset too. It hasn't gotten to that point here, but we can't say that the Eagle Ford Shale activity has been all good news.
I understand that hydraulic fracturing is not stopping in surrounding counties anytime soon. But I find it interesting how this community has reacted to it when others have pushed so hard against it.