Center for Western Priorities documentary series tells stories of drilling impacts on communities

The nonpartisan Center for Western Priorities (CWP) released its new LookWest interview series, today. According to a CWP release:

“Colorado communities struggling to balance their quality of life and local economies with industrial drilling and fracking operations are the focus of a new mini-documentary series by the Center for Western Priorities (CWP).”

The videos include interviews with residents and local business owners in Rifle and Paonia. People living in the Western Slope community of Rifle already have drilling in their midst, and are experiencing air and water challenges, explosions and truck traffic that make some of them wish they’d never moved there.

Farmers, ranchers and local business owners in Paonia talk about Colorado BLM’s plans to make 20,000+ acres in their area available for oil and gas leasing. Agriculture is a staple of the North Fork Valley, and the farmers and ranchers are scared of the impact drilling will have on their livelihoods.

“It’s an unknown practice,” said Jeff Schwartz, a Paonia farmer. “The risk that we’ve learned, that I’ve learned, about around the country is that there is a high risk of water contamination, and that’s a high risk to my family making a living.” Schwartz continued, “Anything that threatens the safety of our food crops threatens everything we do.”

Watch the Rifle video.

Watch the Paonia video.

CWP says that LookWest will continue visiting western communities to give people affected by oil and gas drilling a platform to have their stories heard. The videos will on the CWP website ( and YouTube page.

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