FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALLOT INITIATIVE LANGUAGE FOR SAFER SETBACKS FROM FRACKING OPERATIONS APPROVED BY SUPREME COURT
COLORADO RISING BEGINNING SIGNATURE COLLECTION FOR NOVEMBER BALLOT
DENVER, CO, April 6, 2018 – On the morning of Friday April 6, the Colorado Rising statewide ballot initiative for 2,500 ft. oil and gas buffer zones was approved by the Colorado Supreme Court. The statutory initiative overcame all arguments from the oil and gas industry. This represents the final hurdle before statewide signature gathering, which will begin immediately. Colorado citizens have until August 6th to collect approximately 100k signatures in order to qualify for the ballot.
Recent polling shows that the initiative has 69% support from registered Colorado voters. The Colorado Supreme Court decision comes just 11 days before the one year anniversary of the tragedy in Firestone. The gas explosion in Firestone killed two and critically injured a local school teacher. It set off a fierce statewide debate on the safety of oil and gas practices in Colorado. In the following eight months Colorado saw 13 more explosions.
The 2,500 ft. buffer zone mirrors a recent emergency call issued by Greeley Fire Chief Dale Lyman in response to a leak at Northridge High School. It was reported that crews responding to a valve leak at an oil and gas facility near the high school football stadium initiated an emergency call to everyone within a half mile radius of the gas leak. Greeley House Representative Dave Young, who is running for State Treasurer, responded to the incident with a letter, “Clearly, a half-mile setback is what our trusted first responders believe is a safe distance.”
The decision also comes several weeks after a new 266 page report on more than 1,200 peer reviewed studies shows increased risk of asthma, birth defects and cancer. The report was released by Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Concerned Health Professionals of New York. “Pregnant women have a major risk, not only themselves but they’re carrying a fetus whose cells are multiplying continuously,” says Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, a retired Army colonel and the president-elect of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Studies from the Colorado School of Public Health have indicated increased incidence in cancer, birth defects and respiratory problems within a half-mile from oil and gas fracking operations.
On Friday Coloradans responded to the news:
“As a Colorado farmer, I am concerned about the effects of a changing climate and the stress our local ecosystems and resources are under,” said Mark Guttridge of Ollin Farms. “Our most precious resource, water, is getting pumped into the ground and removed from the natural hydrological cycle. I’ve seen the dangers of off-gas events from fracking operations first hand, seen another farming family’s blood tests showing exposure, seen the unacceptable statistics for spills contaminating soil and water. 2,500 ft setback is the LEAST we can do to try to protect the civil liberties of Coloradans.”
“We are thrilled that our language has been approved by the supreme court,” said Colorado Rising President Tricia Olson. “We have already handed out hundreds of petitions to our volunteers who are all set to begin circulating. Through this initiative, we have a direct route to protect our communities from the dangers of rampant oil and gas development using fracking. We are calling on all Coloradans who value clean water, clean air and the safety of their families to sign this petition for safer setbacks, and to help by circulating a petition. Together, we can protect our water and our homes. For more information about this effort, please visit our website at www.corising.org”
“Fracking is hazardous to our health, poses serious safety risks, and compromises our home values. It’s a bad neighbor,” said Suzanne Cabral, a registered nurse and mother who has been working with neighbors and other parents to protect her community from fracking in Thornton. “I’m concerned about my children’s health and future generations. This industry is responsible for 30-40% of asthma-inducing smog that gives the Front Range an “F” air quality grade by the American Lung Association.”
More information is available at www.corising.org.