Guest Opinion: Beth Bureau: My son deserves better

By DAILY CAMERA GUEST OPINION | openforum@dailycamera.com | Boulder Daily Camera

October 2, 2021 at 6:13 p.m.

By Beth Bureau

As a mom who lives in Erie, where oil and gas operations are prevalent, safeguards to keep our air and water clean are always on my mind. It is concerning to see just how much fracking goes on in my own backyard with little action from lawmakers. I worry about its impact on my son. I call on U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to take action to preserve the environment and protect our children.

It is ironic that a month after the Biden administration’s announcement that they will resume oil and gas leasing without reforms, he came to Colorado to raise the climate concerns our planet faces. In President Biden’s remarks, he addressed what we have all seen and experienced: “so far this year, nationwide, there are 44,000 wildfires that have burned nearly 5.6 million acres. That’s enough — that’s the size of the entire state of New Jersey burned flat. They’ve caused billions of dollars in damage and forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes and businesses.”

To address the climate crisis and the future that our children face, the administration has proposed the “America the Beautiful plan.”  A plan that sets forth the goal to conserve at least 30% of our lands and waters by 2030.

The opposite of setting a plan forward to ensure we have a planet in 2030 is allowing oil and gas companies to run roughshod across our communities, damaging our national monuments, and leaving our land and water dirty, broken, and sad. The decision will cause serious problems today and in the future. As a mom, I want to leave my son a bright future full of opportunity rather than a mess to clean up.

One of the principles of the “America the Beautiful” plan is to “Honor Tribal Sovereignty and Support the Priorities of Tribal Nations.” More than 30 tribal indigenous tribes are anchored to the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase monuments. Since Secretary Haaland’s visit to these monuments in April, tribal coalitions have called for their immediate protection. The protections have not been restored.

The frustration of an urgent climate crisis and our leaders being slow to take action is disappointing and nerve-wracking. Secretary Haaland has been in Colorado to speak at the Salazar center. It remains to be seen how she will respond to the urgency of our climate crisis, the administration’s hesitancy to set reforms on oil and gas, and the leadership in protecting our national monuments.

The presence of oil and gas drilling is prevalent in my community. I pass rigs on my way to the park, we breathe the toxic air and drink the potentially compromised water. It doesn’t have to be this way. I stand with moms across Erie and Broomfield who want better for our children. The industry needs to be put in check with the priority being community health and safety.

This is a great opportunity to create a better, healthier world for the next generation.  We need Secretary Haaland to make oil and gas reform and climate action a reality, rather than a dream.

Beth Bureau is an Erie mom of a 2 year old son.

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