Contact:  Suzanne Spiegel, Colorado Rising, 914-563-6080,
Micah Parkin, Colorado Rising, 504-258-1247,

Should Fracking Wells be Allowed in Your Neighborhood? Newly Submitted Ballot Initiative Says No

A ballot initiative submitted by Colorado communities will establish larger buffer zones between oil and gas development and homes, schools, playgrounds and water sources

12/21/17, Denver – Colorado Rising (CO Rising), a local grassroots organization dedicated to protecting communities from the dangers associated with fracking, announced today that it submitted a ballot measure to establish common sense 2,500 foot buffer zones between oil and gas development and occupied buildings, such as homes and schools, and vulnerable areas, such as playgrounds and drinking water sources.

“Colorado Rising was started by Coloradans who live in or near impacted communities and are committed to the health and safety of people in our state, because if we don’t protect Colorado, no one else will,” said Tricia Olson, with Colorado Rising.

Fracking is ramping up in Colorado once again, and future activity is on a collision course with eight out of ten of Colorado’s fastest growing communities.1 Massive industrial frack pads are planned alarmingly close to elementary schools in Erie, Lafayette and Thornton. This is despite 12 oil and gas blasts and explosions since the Firestone explosion eight months ago that left two people dead.2 Thousands of ongoing complaints that have been submitted to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission about health effects, noxious chemical smells outside of homes, and persistent noise pollution from around the clock industrial activity.

“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 to protect her community from fracking through the local group North Metro Neighbors for Safe Energy. “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.”

In Colorado, oil and gas setbacks are currently a mere 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools.  A 2,500-foot buffer zone (almost one-half mile) aligns with the Colorado School of Public health study, which found that the most grave health impacts from fracking activities are experienced by people living within one-half mile of operations. The increased buffer would also help to keep more homes and schools out of the blast zone of potential oil, fracked gas, and chemical explosions.

“Our children are precious and vulnerable, and it is absolutely clear after a leak mere feet from an elementary school playground in Erie, that we must protect them,” said Patricia Nelson, whose child attends Bella Romero Academy in Greeley, where Extraction has requested a permit to frack just a few yards from the school playground. “We cannot continue to risk their health and safety, after all the only party who benefits is the oil and gas industry.”

Health studies show that fracking operations pose grave risks to public health and safety. Just last week, Princeton University released a major study that analyzed 1.1 million babies and found that infants born within 1 kilometer  (.62 miles) of a well were 25% more likely to have low birth weights than infants more than 3 kilometers away (1.9 miles) and also showed significantly lower scores on a standard index of infant health. Additional health studies clearly link the toxic emissions from oil and gas development to certain types of cancer, respiratory problems, endocrine disruption and birth defects.

Unfortunately, today in Colorado, there are no concrete ways to keep fracking out of communities. To date, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the regulatory agency that is charged with regulating the oil and gas industry, has never denied a single permit. In light of that record, the buffer zone ballot initiative submitted is designed to protect Colorado communities.

“The state of Colorado and the oil and gas industry have utterly failed to protect Colorado communities from the dangers of fracking. Now it is up to us as Coloradans, to insist that our families health and the future of our communities take precedence over this irresponsible and dangerous  industry.”  said Suzanne Spiegel, with Colorado Rising. “Together, we can vote to protect our families and our way life.”

“It is time to put Coloradans’ health and safety first by establishing common sense buffers between hazardous fracking operations and our homes, schools, playgrounds and drinking water sources,” said Micah Parkin, with Colorado Rising. “Colorado is rising for a safe and healthy future, and we invite all our neighbors to join us.”


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