Impacted Resident Testimony

We’re a very informed community.


Colorado’s North Fork Valley is home to Colorado’s highest concentration of organic farms and the southern extent of the Piceance Basin – a major natural gas basin that covers a large swath of western Colorado. While the North Fork Valley is an inappropriate place for fracking because of geological instability, rare and irreplaceable ecosystem, and role in Colorado’s food security, it is a target for increased production.

Natasha Leger, Citizens for Healthy CommunitiesWhen Natasha Léger bought her home in Paonia, the community there was celebrating the deferral of the sale of thousands of acres of public lands for fracking leases. “It’s amazing,” Natasha says, “what I didn’t know about the existential threat fracking poses to the North Fork Valley at the time.”

Oil and gas development is incompatible with the local economy, the reputation we’ve built here. ”

Now the executive director of Citizens for a Healthy Community (CHC), Natasha knows better. “Oil and gas development is incompatible with the local economy, the reputation we’ve built here,” she said. “People expect that their food and water is not going to be contaminated, their water is not going to be contaminated, and there are going to be particulates descending upon the plants that could impact and compromise people’s health.”

Fracking also clogs Delta County’s roads, jeopardizes its recreational opportunities, monopolizes water needed for irrigating crops, and, of course, contributes to climate change – which county residents are already experiencing in the form of extreme weather, water variability and intense drought.

CHC and the North Fork Valley are fighting back to ensure a livable community for present and future generations. The community has rallied behind the cause, organizing at the county, state, and federal level in opposition of new leasing and development in its watershed, which supports the community and wildlife. Even better, they’ve been winning. Since 2013, not a single acre of federal lands has been leased for oil and gas.

“We’re a very informed community. It’s one of the things I’m proudest of,” Léger said.

Natasha Leger, Citizens for Healthy Communities