FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 email@example.com
Suzanne Spiegel: 914-563-6080 firstname.lastname@example.org
COLORADO RISING’S SAFER SETBACK INITIATIVE QUALIFIES FOR NOVEMBER BALLOT
CAMPAIGN GEARS UP TO ENSURE THAT 2,500 FOOT SETBACKS BECOME LAW
DENVER — The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has announced that the 2,500 foot “Safer Setbacks from Fracking” initiative will be on this November’s statewide ballot after the validation of more than more 170,000 signatures turned in by Colorado Rising on August 6. After the random sample for validation was completed, the Secretary of State’s office projected that 123,834 of the signatures were from valid registered Colorado voters, far exceeding the 98,492 signature threshold requirement.
“We are excited that the democratic process has prevailed despite the oil and gas industry’s blatant attempts at stopping this important issue from reaching voters in November. This measure is designed to protect the long-term quality of our lives, our health, and a robust economy that is dependent on the natural beauty that Colorado is so famous for,” said Anne Lee Foster.
The “Safer Setbacks from Fracking” measure will ensure a safety zone of 2,500’ between new oil and gas drilling operations and homes, schools, playgrounds, and drinking water sources. The distance of 2,500’, almost one-half mile, aligns with a growing body of medical studies that show an increased risk of negative health impacts within this zone.
“This industry robbed me of my peace of mind of when they began construction of a 24 well pad site behind my son’s school,” said Patricia Nelson mother of a student at Bella Romero Academy and volunteer for the campaign. “They have money and power, but we have things that cannot be bought. The love for our children and our community has driven us to succeed. This has been a labor of love. We are ready to be a voice for our children and the future of Colorado.”
Firefighters and first responders also frequently use one-half mile or more as the evacuation radius when there are fires, explosions, and gas leaks, such as the emergency evacuation of a high school football game in Greeley last fall. In 2017 alone, more than a dozen serious fires and explosions have occurred at oil and gas drilling sites in Colorado, including the tragic home explosion in Firestone which resulted in the death of two men and a mother being severely burned. In addition to these incidents, over 1,000 complaints were filed in Colorado within a single year addressing issues ranging from contaminated water, an inability to sleep or work due to noxious fumes and extremely loud noise to headaches, nosebleeds, asthma, and other grave health impacts.
“As a resident of Erie who is, unfortunately, living within 1,500 feet of the Extraction Coyote Trails multi-well site I have watched the black plume rising for many weeks on and off. I myself have experienced headaches and nosebleeds – not the normal Colorado dry air nosebleeds but sudden gushing nosebleeds. Living with the noise, odors and these mysterious plumes have convinced me this does not belong in our backyards,” said Heather Shea, Erie Resident.
Colorado Rising overcame numerous challenges throughout the three-month signature-gathering effort and expects to endure many more before voters cast their ballots this November. Petitions circulators were harassed, intimidated, threatened, and followed by paid ‘blockers’ attempting to stop voters from signing in support. Additionally, the campaign’s original signature-gathering firm quit abruptly with just three weeks remaining before the deadline, refused to pay over 300 employees, and took approximately 15,000 signatures out of state until a lawsuit forced the return of the petitions. Just two weeks before the signature deadline, Colorado Rising learned that a newly subcontracted signature-gathering firm, Petition Connection, was paid off to stop collecting signatures for the initiative. Meanwhile, the oil and gas industry has already spent upwards of $10 million on these dirty tactics in an attempt to keep setbacks off the November ballot.
Colorado Rising is gearing up efforts to pass the safer setbacks into law this November. For those interested in supporting or joining the efforts, visit www.corising.org