By Velma L. Campbell, Cory D. Carroll, Karen K. Dike and Jan Douglas
When entering the medical field, we vowed to always do whatever it takes to improve and protect the health of our patients. Little did we know that in order to do that, advocacy was needed outside our medical offices. As clinicians we know that the oil and gas operations in Colorado are compromising the health and safety of all Coloradans when drilling near population centers.
The health of human beings should not be compromised to make a profit. It should not be compromised by toxic drilling near homes that is detrimental to those living there. Human health certainly should not be compromised because the industry that is performing these harmful practices wants to stall and demand unreasonable proof before putting health first, while denying the ample scientific evidence that these operations are detrimental to public health.
As health professionals, mothers, fathers and concerned Colorado residents spanning the Front Range area, we commend the COGCC’s proposed further setback distance. The Commission has clearly taken science, peer-reviewed literature and the voices of those who came forward to share their real-life experiences into consideration. Symptoms tell the truth, science tells the truth, the people who live near these Colorado oil and gas operations suffering from negative health effects are telling the truth.
The COGCC cannot give in to the oil and gas industry’s delay tactics and must act now to protect the health of Colorado residents. As it is our job to make sure our patients’ best interests come first, it is the commissioners’ job to make sure the health and safety of Coloradans come first. As health professionals, we ask Gov. Jared Polis and the COGCC to stay strong on setbacks that protect our health, safety and welfare.
This commentary is by Velma L. Campbell, M.D., MPH, FAAFP, board certified occupational medicine/American Board of Preventive Medicine, board certified American Board of Family Medicine 1981-2009; Cory D. Carroll, M.D., board certified American Board of Family Medicine 1981-present, chair of Physicians for Social Responsibility Colorado; Karen K. Dike, RN, MSN; Jan Douglas, M.D., board certified American Board of Family Medicine 1983-2018. They are health professionals based in communities from Pueblo through Fort Collins.