Former Government Officials Speak Out on Oil and Gas

County Commissioners ignoring complaints about open waste pits. A striking critique of the BLM for favoring drilling over conservation. Former government employees are taking a stand on irresponsible oil and gas development.

Former Garfield County Oil & Gas Liaison Judy Jordan has published a blog post and video highlighting the carefree attitude of Garco’s BOCC when it comes to oil and gas. Jordan wrote:

“There was trash all over the BLM land there, hazardous waste dumped, and condensate left in open, unlined pits. A BLM employee told me he had seen a bear in one of the pits and I sampled the pits and found it to be full of hydrocarbon sludge. Neither BLM nor COGCC would take action. Then I came back to Garco and showed this video (above) to the BOCC and they did nothing. Instead, (Commissioner) John Martin joked to (Commissioner) Mike Samson about hunting when I showed video of the elk and deer prints near the waste pits.”

Click here to read Jordan’s full posting and click here (or view below) to see the video.

And last month, after a 20 year career with the BLM, Stan Olmstead sent a three-page memo to his BLM colleagues criticizing the agency for failing to live up to its mission to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Olmstead wrote:

“We promote energy development without stop and continue to measure natural resources by dollar value. Science teaches us to not act until we know that harm will not occur to the natural system. Whereas development asks for proof of damage to the natural system before you restrict. The natural environment and subsequently the human environment will be injured seriously if balance is not restored.”

Click here to read Olmstead’s three-page memo. Click here to read news coverage from Greenwire and click here for an excellent write-up in High County News.

Many, if not most, of civil servants are capable and well intentioned. As Olmstead notes, too often “our elected, appointed and agency administrators ask us to focus on commodities and economics as opposed to environmental health. Commodities and economic gains are easier to measure. We work with our elected officials but we work for our citizens.”

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