Many of the farms, wineries and ranches that supply the Gunnison Valley and the greater Western Slope with fresh, local foods at our farmers markets may soon become neighbors with fracking.
The BLM is proposing 20+ fracking leases in a 30,000 acre area surrounding Paonia and neighboring farming communities. Delta County is home to 1000+ farms, most of which are family operated. You can view the BLM lease sale page here: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Information/nepa/ufo/august_lease_sale.html
Every single irrigation water source in the Valley originates in or runs through one of the proposed fracking parcels. Alison Gannett and Jason Trimm's Holy Terror Farm is one of the many that will be affected by the proposed fracking.
Hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") is a drilling technique that injects toxic chemical fluids into the ground to break apart shale and release natural gas.
Fracking could pose the following effects to Delta County farms' operations, products, drinking water, health, safety, agri-tourism and educational opportunities:
- Tremors & earthquakes that could destabilize Paonia Reservoir
- Air, visual and noise pollution (see High Country News article)
- Water pollution
- Chemical contamination that would hinder farms from producing organic or chemical-free foods
- Health problems for residents including: respiratory disease, neurological problems, birth defects and cancer (fracking fluids are proprietary)
- Changes in animal migratory patterns (bald eagle, elk, deer, fish)
- For more info, check out HCCA's resources on documented effects in Colorado
The Board of Reclamation is requesting a withdrawal of these lease parcels. If you're interested in getting involved, you can: