The construction of the wall continues alongside the quiet subdivision of Vista Ridge. As I watch this monstrous entity take shape, I think about how politicians leave individual homeowners hanging in the balance as they dance around the issue of oil/gas development near urban areas. No one at the state level of government wants to tell oil/gas companies that they cannot work so closely to where people live; so they leave us with few protections. A new oil/gas site can sit a mere 500 feet from a home or 1000 feet from a school. However even these numbers are arbitrary. We don’t yet know enough about the health risks of living next to drilling sites. The bottom line is that no one would choose to live in close proximity to a noisy, stinky, industrial operation. Yet the oil/gas industry imposes their wells upon us.
As I reflect on the town hall meeting that took place on that warm August night, I wish I had known then that approval of these drill sites was a foregone conclusion. Rather than addressing the town council with my concerns, I would have directed my comments toward the Encana employees in the room (there were MANY). I would have appealed to their sense of decency, and hopefully morality. Instead of focusing on the harmful effects of chemicals and the problems that have been linked to fracking, I would have made an emotional appeal.
In my line of work as a veterinarian, clients will often ask “What would you do if this were your dog?” And that question is a constant litmus test I use for myself. I would have no business performing surgery on a client’s dog that I would be unwilling to perform on my own dog under similar circumstances. Therefore that is the standard I hold myself to: What would I want for my own dog in this situation?
So I would like to pose a similar question to the people of Encana: What would you want if this was your subdivision, your neighbors, and your backyard? Would you be satisfied with a setback of less than 1000 feet? Would you want the drilling operations anywhere near your home? I suspect that the answer to these questions is no. And so I push further: Why then are you willing to bring pollution, noise, and risk to our neighborhood?