They may not readily admit it, but after hosting forums on oil and gas development in Greeley and Boulder, Patty Limerick said the residents of those cities have more similar concerns about the industry than they might think.
Limerick, faculty director at Center of the American West with the University of Colorado at Boulder, said she plans to analyze the questions that come from Greeley and Boulder residents in the FrackingSENSE forums after the final Greeley installment, which is Monday night in Greeley.
“I really appreciate the intensity with which people listen,” Limerick said of the first two forums. “I think the questions are very smart. ... People have a lot of the same hopes for understanding” the true impacts of oil and gas development, she said.
Greeley Mayor Tom Norton said the forums have reaffirmed for him that there is no silver bullet solution to many problems brought up by oil and gas development.
But he said it’s important to have public outreach and education opportunities like this to communicate the complexity of the topic, as well as explore the information that the experts do have.
“The more people you can educate, the better off you are,” Norton said.
The last forum will focus on the regulatory environment in the state for oil and gas.
Limerick said the last forum will also provide the most opportunity for public participation, with just a short introduction from panelists and a discussion with the audience for the rest of the time.
She said the group will stay overnight in Greeley so they can continue their conversation with interested attendees at Old Chicago after the formal session is over.
Limerick said one thing that has struck her in those informal sessions about Greeley is residents.
“Their commitment to the community is very strong,” she said.