They didn’t call it fracking when a young man died

They didn’t call it fracking when a young man died by Virginia A. Gebhart, September 7, 2017, Daily Camera

Re: “Correct terminology matters” (Daily Camera Open Forum, Sept. 4):

They didn’t call it fracking back in November 1992, when a drilling rig exploded about a half-mile from my back door where I lived on Flagg Drive, just off Baseline. They didn’t call it fracking when the body of the worker on that rig flew through the air from the force of the blast. They didn’t call it fracking when that young man died. I don’t know if he died instantly from the blast or if he died from crashing back to earth after flying through the air. I just know he died that day. I didn’t see this tragic event that day because it was moving day. I was away from my home on Flagg Drive when the drilling rig blew up, but a friend who was helping us move saw that young man’s body flying through the air from the force of the blast. The natural gas flared after that explosion long enough for a Denver news helicopter to fly up to Lafayette and get pictures which appeared on local and national news that evening.

In the days following this young man’s tragic death, I looked for news reports in the Boulder Daily Camera so I could understand what had happened that day. The reports said that drilling operations sometimes include forcing fluids into the well under high pressure. They said something went wrong. They called it a tragic industrial accident. They didn’t call it hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Flash forward 20 years when we all started reading the endless propaganda about hydraulic fracturing. The oil and gas propagandists assured us that they have been fracking well sites for 60 years and nobody has ever been seriously injured or killed by fracking operations. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach when I first read those lies. It makes me sick every time I see one of those ads on TV about how safe fracking is, about how Colorado has the strictest oil and gas regulations in the country, about how it’s all so safe. No worries.

They didn’t call it fracking back in November 1992, but that young man died all the same.

Virginia A. Gebhart lives in unincorporated Boulder County.

Correct terminology matters by Matt Silverman, Septmeber 3, 2017, Daily Camera

Re: ” Collision Course” in the Aug. 28 Business Plus section; there is no such thing as a “fracking site.” These are properly “drill sites” or “well sites.” Using the right word promotes understanding and minimizes the anxiety that comes with confusion.

Fracking is only a part of the oil and gas drilling and completion process, like fertilizing is part of farming. Fertilizers can smell bad and should be handled carefully, but do you refer to farms as “fertilizing sites?” Are new homes “hammering sites?”

Unfortunately, “fracking” has become a proxy in some circles for petroleum drilling and production, probably because it sounds like another word we use as an expletive.

Essentially all wells in Colorado are stimulated by hydraulic fracturing (fracking). If you’re against drilling for and producing oil and gas here, there’s probably an element of hypocrisy, since we all use those fuels and the products they make possible.

Similarly, the Camera has often used the phrases “fracking gas” and “fracking tower,” among others. There are no such things. The terms you’re looking for are “natural gas” and “drilling rig.”

Matt Silverman, Boulder

[Refer also to:

2017 08 04: Fracking by Karve Energy Inc. at Consort Alberta killed Charles Oba, Calgary father of two; Family demands answers. Police not releasing name of the victim. Will Karve Energy blame Charles?

2016 10 25: Shell Canada, Fox Creek Alberta: 47 year old worker killed by water hose in AER’s Blanket Approval, “Brute Force & Ignorant” Frac Frenzy Pilot Project

2015 12 15: “Abnormally dangerous and ultra hazardous activity.” Did TRC or Chevron’s fracing kill Robert David Taylor? What happened to California regulators’ vows to make steam injections safer? “Safer?” Why not make it “safe?”

2015 03 12: Jack Shawn Eyles, 28, from Kelowna, dies fracking in NE BC for Calfrac (Nitrogen Pumping Division) on Progress Energy Canada Ltd. Site: “Not an explosion as we we usually think, but an explosive or sudden release of extremely high pressure” ]

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