Bear with me, me of little faith, who sees that the lure of money for economic gain has now blurred the good of the whole. I see dollar signs dangling in front of drooling mouths. How can I attempt to appeal to that place buried deep within our culture’s growing exoskeleton of greed and power? Why do you live in Durango, in La Plata County? Is it because it is a bustling metropolis? Is it because of the skyscrapers, quick-paced lifestyle, opportunities for stock-market gains, or getting things done in a New York minute?
I live here for the solitude, serenity, skiing, climbing, casual pace. I live here because I feel comfortable wearing jeans to church on Sunday. I live here to experience the call of the meadowlark each spring, to climb Centennial and summit Engineer. I live here because I have little need for a house or car alarm. I live here because I share a respectful sentiment for Mother Nature with my neighbors and community. I live here because it’s a safe and healthy place to raise my two boys.
The economic gains that come from the development of the Mancos Shale sound great. Surely, La Plata County can fund fabulous endeavors with oil royalties. Consider, however, the vast costs to lifestyle: Can 18-wheelers barreling down the road coexist with school buses, livestock, farm vehicles and pedestrians? Will an oil boom burst the seams of Durango with thousands of “hungry” people converging on the area seeking work? Will crime increase? Can our local health-care facilities meet the increasing demands? Will we have safe water to drink and enough water for our crops and animals? Finally, what are the costs to the environment? Not knowing the long-term effects of hydraulic fracking, what are you willing to live with? Are we leaving the environment better than we found it? What legacy will you leave if you decide to chase short-term economic gain?