Community Update

First of all, the officers and members of the Front Range Environmental Resource Coalition (FRERC) would like to express our overwhelming gratitude to all the interested volunteers who have stepped forward to provide guidance, advice and offer to help. While we knew that our community would likely become involved when we got the word out on the planned gas drilling activities for the Mt. Herman area, including along the front range from the Air Force Academy to County Line Road, we are grateful to the many, many folks who want to help in any way they can. We feel we are the front line in this attack on the Colorado Front Range, by an oil and gas industry bent on taking what they can, no matter what the consequences may be.

This first web update is to keep you all informed, and hopefully motivated to act, as this threat to our families, homes and living environment evolves. The following describes FRERC past and current progress to date:

  1. A Community Meeting was held on April 1, 2008 at the Lewis Palmer District 38 administration building. About 120 folks from the local neighborhoods and the town administrations attended and heard first hand the presentations now available on our FRERC website concerning the impending drilling project and its impact on our community. You can find them under the “Presentations” link at the FRERC website (www.frerc.org). These were our initial words of warning to the community regarding what we may individually and collectively face. A second community meeting wherein we will provide an update as to where we stand at this point, and what is scheduled for the near future will be scheduled for the 21st of May, and will occur at the Pinecrest in Palmer Lake. Please watch this website for further notice concerning that meeting.
  2. Our cause and concerns have been covered in articles in the Gazette, Our Community News, and The Tri-Lakes Tribune. In an attempt to get broader coverage and support we have been interviewed and featured on two local television news channels as well, and will continue to keep the news media involved as we move forward.
  3. We have individually sent, and provided draft copies, on the website, of letters for you to send to our legislative leaders in the U.S. House and Senate as well as our state government in Denver. If you have not done so, please copy those letters from the website and send them to our elected officials.
  4. On our website we now have over 200 supporters who can be reached with a “broadcast e-mail,” when anything significant transpires, for information or action. That number continues to grow each day as more people become aware.
  5. The organization “Front Range Environmental Resource Coalition” is established and will gain approval and qualification as a 501 ( c ) (3) entity for receiving tax deducible donations. We are please to say that we have received approximately $6,000 to date. This money and all future money donated will be spent on printing, legal assistance and securing the services of a highly qualified person or persons to perform a critical, detailed review of the US Forest Service Environmental Assessment. We continue to need your financial support. We anticipate growing costs for legal counsel and environmental assessment services as we move forward in our campaign. We cannot do this without your financial support. So please donate what you can through our website. All board and committee positions on FRERC are volunteer positions and any funds received will be used solely for the purpose of protecting our community resources.
  6. Representatives of FRERC have met with town administrations of Palmer Lake, Monument, and the Forest View Acres Water District to engage them and to let them know that we are all aware of the proposed drilling, the serious negative effects it could have on our environment – our air, water availability and quality, roads, peace and quiet, and wildlife habitats and recreation areas, and that we will be expecting them to take leadership positions in representing and protecting our interests and concerns.
  7. We have met with the US Forest Service to get an update on the anticipated release of the Environmental Assessment (EA). The public release of the draft EA from the Forest Service could be released later than we expected, hopefully to our advantage. Nicole Chillino in the April 9, 2008 Tri-Lakes Tribune wrote that she had talked with Barbara Timock, Forest Service Public Affairs Officer, who advised that, “it is unknown at this time when the draft EA will be released, but she said she is hopeful the assessment will be reviewed and a decision about whether or not to allow drilling will be made by late summer or early fall of this year”. Although the assessment was originally scheduled to come out this spring, it might be summer before it is released. Following its release there will be a 30-day public comment period. We intend to have the Environmental Assessment (EA) linked to our website when it becomes available, so that all interested parties can read, review, and provide comments. When the time comes we will provide instruction to you all for what actions you may take individually. We are hopeful that the delay in release of the draft EA would indicate that the US Forest Service is looking more closely at elements like water, air quality, noise levels, and the potential impact drilling could have on wildlife.
  8. The US Forest Service 2008 Land Management Planning Final Rule has been released on April 21, 2008 and is available from the U.S. Government, and on our website. While we have yet to fully digest this report, we believe in our Region, Region 2, the immediate effect of this Rule will be that the Forest Service will restart their planning efforts towards a Management Plan rework which could lead to more limited uses of the Pike National Forest, which may effect the proposed drilling plans. We anticipate providing a summary of what these rules entail at our next Community Meeting.
  9. Many additions have been made to the FRERC website to further everyone’s understanding of the challenges and threats that we face. Remember we are learning along with you. Please take a careful and thorough look at this website. There is a wealth of knowledge here, not only on what is involved in this gas drilling process and its impact, but also on how our government in Washington DC and the State of Colorado has given these gas companies freedoms we would have never allowed, had we had a say in the process. You can see and learn first hand, about other communities who have fought this fight before us and continue to fight it. Take a close look at the “Links” information we have added. We are reusing content from other community organization websites to help jump start us all, and to give us the benefit of the hard work and efforts of others across the country who, like us, are concerned citizens with a strong desire to protect our environment and our personal well-being.
  10. We have tried to open communications with the head of Dyad Petroleum Corp., Mr. Tom Dyches, to let him know of our concerns. Mr. Dyches has been invited to come to address our concerns, but declined our invitation. If he won’t come talk with us, then we will take our issues to him, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service in the most appropriate, meaningful, and ultimately legal methods that we have available to us.
  11. We also have efforts underway in the following areas and will be reporting more to you in the coming weeks
    • We are actively seeking and evaluating the most competent person or persons, with the relevant experience, who we can hire to perform a critical, detailed review of the US Forest Service Environmental Assessment when it is made available for public review. We will be required to pay for this service and we see it as one of, if not the, most important and financially demanding efforts. So your donations will really help.
    • We are seeking legal counsel on an as needed basis now, but soon will likely have to retain someone on a permanent basis; another financial obligation where your donations would be much appreciated.
    • We are contacting other communities and organizations across this nation who are fighting the same fight to learn, share, and accelerate our ability to do the best we can for our cause.
    • We are contacting the Environmental Law Departments of our state universities to seek their free legal support and involvement.
    • We are trying to think of other ways to demonstrate our cause, and convey how strongly we feel about it, be more visible within our community, neighboring communities, city, county, and state. Ideas you may have on this or any other area would be greatly appreciated. Please contribute them through our website comment mechanism.
    • We are continuing our own education in order to become more capable of speaking about and, representing the impact of gas drilling operations on our environment and community.

While we all would like an immediate, favorable resolution to this issue; I suspect we are in for a long battle to ensure that our community remains as clean and free, as is possible, from the detrimental impact of gas drilling so close to our air and water sources, as well as our homes and neighbor’s homes.

We are the front line for an invasion of Colorado’s Front Range. Make no mistake about that. Do not forget this. And please remember, WE DO NOT INHERIT THE ENVIRONMENT FROM OUR ANCESTORS…WE BORROW IT FROM OUR CHILDREN!

We thank you for your interest and support, and will do our best to keep you updated and involved.

Your FRERC Board

Chris Amenson Glenn Yoder Eileen Skahill
Fred & Gloria Lanyon Bonnie Hildebrandt

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