Colorado grassroots groups snubbed by Hickenlooper’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ task force on fracking

Over a month ago, Be The Change USA and 27 other grass roots organizations wrote a letter inviting the members of Governor Hickenlooper’s ‘Blue Ribbon’ task force on fracking to tour several front range fracking sites. Due to a lack of response, Phil Doe of Be The Change USA wrote a follow-up request:


Subject: Open letter to Blue Ribbon Task Force. Please confirm receipt.

Dear Committee Members:

A little over a month ago, 28 grassroots groups representing citizen interests from across the state sent you a letter asking that you consider several options for the upcoming public meeting in Greeley on the 15th of this month. We have received no official reply.

We asked that you make committee members available for a bus tour of the Greeley area. Collectively, we have extensive knowledge of the area and the fracking process itself. Unofficially, we’ve been told by one of your committee, Sarah Barwinski, that Clean Water Action will conduct a tour. CWA is not a member of our group, they are a national environmental organization, and neither, obviously, is Ms Barwinski.

So, given the resulting haze and the nearness of the Greeley event itself, we wish to inform you that we will still conduct our tour. If any of the committee would like to participate, we would welcome them. If none wish to participate, we will go ahead with a busload of citizens, press, and public officials. Either situation promises to be eventful. Please give us some idea of how many committee members will attend our tour so we can plan accordingly.

We’ve also suggested on several occasions that you listen to at least one panel of health experts on the consequences of fracking. We think this only fair since the takings threats from the industry and lease and royalty holders have been roundly discussed on panels at practically every hearing so far.

Surely public health impacts from fracking can be given at least equal treatment. Yet, heretofore, our sense is that the public health issues have been limited to the public comment period at the end of your hearings where citizens are limited to 2 minutes of fame. This is shameful. But here again we have heard nothing about this suggestion.

What is more, the prospective agenda for Greeley is of little value to us on this issue since as of this morning it had not yet been published. So in this vacuum, allow us to give you some preliminary suggestions of physicians and scientists whom you should recognize and seek out for their expertise. These voices would be in addition to Doctors Robert Green and L. Steele and PhD Karl Ford, all of whom in their two minutes at Rifle supported the state of New York’s recent ban on horizontal fracking, suggesting the same course of action for Colorado:

  • Dr Anthony Gerber, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Hospital
  • Dr John Adgate, PhD, MSPH, Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health and the Environment, Colorado School of Public Health
  • Dr Lisa McKenzie, PhD, MPH, Research Associate, Department of Public Health and the Environment, Colorado School of Public Health
  • Carol Kwiatkowski, PhD, Executive Director, the Endocrine Disruption Exchange
  • Dr. Scott Denning, PhD, Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science, CSU
  • Dr. Chelsea R. Thompson, PhD, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado
  • Dr. James Danforth, family practice, Loveland, CO

Finally we asked that citizens in Greeley and the surrounding area be given an opportunity to participate on a panel and be questioned by panel members. Here again we have heard nothing, but would be glad to give you names of citizens should you all decide to proceed with this request.

We would also suggest that at the Greeley meeting and those scheduled for Denver following, that citizens commenting to the committee first identify themselves as beneficiaries of oil and gas development, either as employees, mineral owners, or as service industry employees. It is our evaluation that these public testimonies are being hijacked to an unhealthy degree by the industry and its direct beneficiaries. To be sure they too are part of the public, but not the disinterested public. And there is a difference as I’m sure you will agree.


Phil Doe on behalf of the 28 grassroots organizations identified on our original letter.

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