Anyone following the contentious debate over hydraulic fracture drilling, or "fracking" under Front Range communities will find today's announcement in the Boulder Daily Camera to be most interesting.
Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones is set to debate Gov. John Hickenlooper on natural gas hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — on April 1 in Denver.
The goal of the 45-minute session is to provide a state-versus-local perspective on the effects of fracking, including public health concerns, the environmental impacts and local economic considerations.
"Oil and gas is a really, really important issue to the residents of Boulder County," Jones said Monday. "It's important that their concerns be made known to the state and to the governor directly. It's critical that he understand that Coloradans don't want to sacrifice air and water quality and public health to produce energy."
Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones is the former executive director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition, and highly knowledgeable on the subject of "fracking." She is definitely on the opposite side of avowed industry cheerleader Gov. John Hickenlooper in the debate over the expanding use of fracking to gain access to energy resources in areas not previously subject to drilling–like residential Front Range cities in Boulder County.
This forum will be the first time we know of that Gov. Hickenlooper will publicly defend his over-the-top pro-energy industry rhetoric since taking office in 2011. This is the same Gov. Hickenlooper who has told constituents that fracking "is inherently safe," "carries literally no risk," and that "you can eat this stuff"–referring to the trade-secret brew of chemicals used in fracking operations. Hickenlooper was forced to admit after making this claim in a U.S. Senate hearing that "I don’t think there’s any frack fluid right now that I’m aware of that people are using commercially that you want to drink," a wholesale contradiction of what he directly implied to Senators, and has repeatedly and explicitly told the public. Despite the wide distribution Hickenlooper's claims to have "drank frack fluid" have received, Hickenlooper's admission that this was basically a lie has gone largely unreported.
Today's story notes correctly that Commissioner Jones is friends with Hickenlooper, and that Hickenlooper chose to debate Jones on the issue because the debate would be "respectful."
And we hope it is, with the caveat that on this issue, Gov. Hickenlooper has a lot of explaining to do.