Monday, December 10, 2012

Erie Rising Mom Comments on Encana's Wendy Weidenbeck

An Erie Mother on Wendy Wiedenbek

Recently in the news, Encana's Spokeswoman, Wendy Wiedenbeck, has been portrayed as the innocent victim of attacks from oil and gas opponents.  We have seen video footage of individuals shouting at Ms. Wiedenbeck as she left the Boulder County Commisioners' Meeting earlier this week, letting her know that that the oil and gas industry is not welcome in our city.

But I would like to share with you a different side of Ms. Wiedenbeck. About a year ago, I met Ms. Wiedenbeck after attending a Board of Trustees meeting in Erie, Colorado. After learning of Encana's plans to drill 8 wells for oil and gas right next to my children's elementary school, I joined forces with three other moms to create Erie Rising. We pleaded with Ms. Wiedenbeck, as mothers to another mother, begging her to ask her company, Encana, to halt operations next to our childrens' school. We learned that these operations emitted large volumes of VOC's into the air that our children breathed, were likely to contaminate our ground water and surface water, and would put our children at an increased risk for respiratory and neurological disorders, as well as cancer.  Ms  Wiedenbeck said that despite our protests, Encana would continue with plans to drill next to the school.  We pleaded our case to our Mayor and Board of Trustees. It was four long months of attending every town meeting involving discussions around oil and gas in Erie. Ms. Wiedenbeck never missed a single one.  She came with her colleagues and the oil and gas industry representatives filled up half of our town hall whenever there was a potential vote regarding oil and gas operations in Erie.

Ms. Wiedenbeck presents herself as meek and innocent when speaking at the podium at a town or city hall meeting or in front of a camera. However, behind the scenes she is a very different person.  We have witnessed first-hand Ms. Wiedenbeck in a yelling match during a board meeting intercession with our town administrator, AJ Krieger. She has pursed her lips and shaken her head at our Mayor while mouthing the word "no" before he voted on a moratorium for oil and gas activity in our town. She has told the board that she would look into a non-toxic fracking fluid, air testing around wells in Erie and promised that Encana would not use benzene in their operations in Erie. However, there are no plans for Encana to use the available non-toxic fracking fluid or to do air testing.  Encana used Trimethlbenzene and crystalline silica among many other toxic chemicals to fracture the eight wells (FracFocus 2012) next to our elementary school. The Global Community Monitor has since identified crystalline silica on a wipe sample taken at our school's organic garden. Ms. Wiedenbeck continues to say that Erie Rising's approach has been based on fear rather than facts, and that any health problems the children of Erie are having are based on anecdotal evidence and haven't been proven. However, our fears are based on facts as the scientific evidence is vastly proving. Ms. Wiedenbeck has chosen to be the spokeswoman for an industry that is poisoning our water, our air, our soil and consequently our health and the health of our children. If Ms. Wiedenbeck has no problem sleeping at night knowing that she is in some way responsible for this tragedy, then she can handle a few angry mothers and fathers telling her to get out of town.

Wendy Leonard,
Erie Rising

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