Press releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 1 2018

Contact:

Betty Ball, rmpjc@earthlink.net, 303-903-0412

Susan Noble, nobleaccounts@q.com, 303-579-3477

Anne Lee Foster, anneleefoster@gmail.com, 757-870-5102

***PRESS RELEASE***

Rocky Flats and Rocky Mountain Arsenal Under Threat of Fracking

Applications are underway for approval to drill both nuclear waste sites

Denver – Last Friday, several homeowners near Rocky Flats received documents in the mail notifying them about a recently submitted application for new oil and gas development at the former nuclear facility and Standley Lake. Rocky Flats has a long and controversial history as the former site of a nuclear weapons processing plant that now has large amounts of plutonium buried underneath the site.

According to maps that accompanied the application, drilling would take place in the Northeast quadrant of Rocky Flats which is the area most contaminated with buried nuclear waste. The application, submitted by Highlands Natural Resources Corporation, is requesting permits to drill as many as 31 wells on four well-pads in Rocky Flats. In addition, the application includes two sections of Standley Lake. The map indicates the application includes a total of 16 well pads with up to 109 wells. Densely-populated areas immediately adjacent to the site include Arvada, Westminster, Superior and Broomfield.

Neighborhoods in Northfield, Stapleton, Montbello and Green Valley Ranch are also immediately adjacent to a radioactive waste site that is under review for potential drilling next to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Last January, the Colorado State Land Board voted to postpone the auctioning of minerals under the Arsenal due to public outcry from concerned residents in surrounding areas. However, the State Land Board will have the option to re-consider the possibility of leasing the minerals as early as this January.

Supporters of Proposition 112 believe it is critical that the state postpones any decision on these applications until after the election, when voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on increasing setbacks for new oil & gas operations. Proposition 112 would allow drilling plans like these to be taken off the table before their permits are granted.

The application for permits to drill Rocky Flats is currently under review with the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The COGCC has never denied a permit and is known for its rubber-stamp approval of drilling permits.

“How money-hungry are these companies that they think drilling through buried plutonium waste is a good idea? This industry will stop at nothing to make a buck while exposing us all to a radioactive nightmare scenario that nobody here wants to re-live,” said Anne Lee Foster with Colorado Rising.

“If you take fracking, which is dangerous in and of itself, and combine it with the still contaminated Rocky Flats former nuclear weapons production plant, it’s unthinkable what the results could be,” said Betty Ball, co-administrator with Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to pass Proposition 112 – a common sense measure that will protect public health & safety by creating a 2500 foot buffer zone between new oil & gas operations and our homes, schools and water sources.

To learn more about Prop 112, please go to www.corising.org

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 31 2018

Contact: Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 anneleefoster@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

Erie CO Family Shares Stories of Highly Elevated Benzene Levels Reduced After Living Away from Fracking Sites

CO Physicians for Social Responsibility offering free blood test for families living near oil and gas operations to detect benzene poisoning

DENVER — Erie resident Kathryn Maciula shared the harmful effect living near oil and gas operations had on her and her family in a new video released this week endorsing Prop 112 [https://www.facebook.com/ColoradoRising/videos/1976502969317145/].

According to Maciula, after fracking rigs moved into her neighborhood, she started experiencing regular vomiting episodes and her kids became sick frequently. A blood test revealed Maciula and her children were in the 95th percentile for benzene levels, a deadly carcinogen associated with fracking operations. She was told by her doctor, the only way to get the benzene out of their system was to eliminate exposure to it – a difficult task with the dozens of drilling sites within a quarter-mile of her home.

After several months of living with family members in Estes Park, where there are no drilling or fracking operations, Maciula’s daughter had a follow-up blood test which showing zero benzene present in her blood.

“Studies have shown that people who live in dense areas of fracking have an increased risk of serious health effects, including high levels of benzene in their blood which can cause cancer, low birth weight and birth defects” said David Nolan, M.D. from Physicians for Social Responsibility – Colorado. “We believe oil and gas operations do not belong in places where our children live, play and learn. We also believe that families who do live too close to fracking and drilling should know the harmful impact it can have on the health of their families.”  

“I have done studies on patients living near wells and BTEX burners and have found significant toxic levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in patients living with 2000 feet of the wells,” said DO John Hughes of Aspen. “The closer patients live near the wells the more of these VOCs they have in their blood and urine samples.  My studies are not only supported by other physicians who have tested both blood and urine but also by the O&G’s gas own calculations of emissions of these BTEX (Benzene Toluene Ethylbenzene Xylene) compounds in the late 1990s…even before fracking began.”

Additionally, here is a small sample other Erie residents that have tested high for VOC contents in their blood.

  • Four-year-old son of Serena Arnold, also told by doctor to move
  • John C. Lamb, 72, 95th percentile for ethylbenzene
  • Anonymous woman (has received threats), 38, 95th percentile for benzene
  • Anonymous girl, 7, 95th percentile for ethylbenzene
  • Anonymous man, 37, 94th percentile for ethylbenzene
  • Six-year-old son of Beth Ewaskowitz, 85th percentile for ethylbenzene

Science:

The American Cancer Society on Benzene exposure: “Benzene is known to cause cancer, based on evidence from studies in both people and lab animals. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and other cancers of blood cells:”

https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/benzene.html

The World Health Organization says “Benzene is carcinogenic to humans, and no safe level of exposure can be recommended.” http://www.who.int/ipcs/features/benzene.pdf

Studies show Benzene is dangerous for pregnant women including a study conducted by the University of Montreal: “High exposure to benzene during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, an increased risk of childhood leukemia and a greater incidence of birth defects such as spina bifida:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171113095435.htm

A study done in Pennsylvania with data for 1 million babies showed that infants that live less than ½ mile from an oil and gas well are 25% more likely to be born weighing less than 5.5 lbs.

https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2017/12/13/study-newborns-close-to-fracking-site-have-higher-risk-of-low-birth-weight/

Recent studies done in Erie found that 55% of VOCs in the air are a direct result of oil and gas extraction: http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_22390113/cu-boulder-noaa-study-uncovers-oil-and-gas

A CU Anschutz study Study associates proximity to oil and gas development and childhood leukemia. Leukemia is one of the main causes of Benzene exposure:

https://www.cuanschutztoday.org/study-finds-association-proximity-oil-gas-development-childhood-leukemia/

Continuous exposure to benzene leads to a build-up of toxicity in the blood. If benzene is emitted closer at 51ppb in 24 hr (low estimate for modern shale oil), the patient living near the well would be at a toxic level of benzene in their system in about 60 days. https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=lBAyAQAAMAAJ&rdid=book-lBAyAQAAMAAJ&rdot=1 [play.google.com]

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 29 2018

Contact: Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 anneleefoster@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

Leaked Report Confirms Industry is Inflating Economic Claims against 112

New information shows mineral deposits would remain accessible, challenging industry claims

A recent analysis obtained by Colorado Rising, the group leading efforts to pass Proposition 112, reveals that the oil and gas industry’s claims about the economic impacts of the 2500 foot setback measure are highly exaggerated and misleading. The industry is often cited in TV, radio and print ads saying that 112 is a ban on oil and gas development as part of a $38 million campaign opposing the citizen-led initiative to protect the health and safety of Colorado residents.

The report titled “Proposition 112 Playbook” was compiled by RS Energy Group, a leading independent upstream oil and gas advisory and investment research firm. The report states that the majority of minerals in the Denver-Julesburg Basin will still be accessible using current technology. Additionally, the following key points clearly demonstrate that proposition 112 is unequivocally not a ban on oil & gas production in Colorado:

  • Portions of the Eastern D-J Basin will be unaffected by the proposed setbacks due to lower feature density of vulnerable areas and mineral access via horizontal drilling;
  • 61% of all minerals would remain accessible in the D-J Basin using 10,000 foot horizontal drilling bores;
  • An estimated 43% of the Core Wattenberg Basin will also remain accessible with current technology;
  • The analysis accounts for current limitations in technology and the analysts reduced  estimates by 10% accordingly, providing extremely conservative estimates to industry investors. Additionally, operators in Colorado regularly permit for 10-15,000 foot laterals in Colorado.

The report’s analysis is based on current drilling technologies used by the industry, which allow them to access minerals roughly two miles horizontally in all directions. The report also shows that areas of the Eastern Denver-Julesburg Basin will be accessible, parts of which were not included in the COGCC report due to lack of data. This latest report by RS Energy Group is in line with the recent analysis by Professor Maniloff from the CO School of Mines who reported that 42% of minerals would remain accessible using one mile horizontal drill bores.

In response to the report, Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising said, “The oil and gas industry is intentionally misleading the public, to make them believe 112 is a ban. They are using this false assertion to support wild exaggerations and fear-mongering to avoid even the most common sense protections for our communities. This analysis shows the industry can and will continue to operate in Colorado, with 2,500 foot setbacks. We have seen these Chicken Little scare tactics from big corporations before. Coloradans deserve the truth on Proposition 112, so we’re setting the record straight.”

Retired Petroleum Engineer, Karen Tonso said, “Clearly the experts agree: 112 is not a ban. Voters should take note, and look closely at data sources as they evaluate the 2,500 foot setback ballot question. The report shows that economic claims based upon a ban are not applicable to Prop 112. Coloradans are smart people and making false claims like this is misleading to voters.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to pass Proposition 112 – a common sense measure that will protect public health & safety by creating a 2500 foot buffer zone between new oil & gas operations and our homes, schools and water sources.

To learn more about Prop 112, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 29 2018

Contact:  Julia Williams, outreach@350colorado.org, 970-948-1439

***PRESS RELEASE***

Coloradans Call on COGCC to Halt Permitting of New Oil and Gas Wells Before Election – Let the Voters Decide

Leaked emails raise questions about fairness in the COGCC public comment process as support for Prop 112 gains momentum

DENVER, CO – Outraged by the ongoing lack of concern for public health and the environment, Colorado residents offered public comment at today’s COGCC hearing, demanding the state regulatory agency pause all new oil and gas permits ahead of the upcoming election where Colorado voters weigh in on Proposition 112.

Just one week before the election, the docket for the hearing includes thousands of pending permit applications, which if approved would be grandfathered into the current setbacks of 500 ft from occupied structures and 1,000 ft from schools. In addition to the pending vote on Proposition 112, the ongoing Martinez v COGCC appeals court case states that public health and safety must be prioritized over oil and gas interests.

Additionally, In two separate emails received this week, 350 Colorado recently learned of possible preferential treatment given to pro oil and gas speakers at today’s Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) hearing. The day before the COGCC opened up registration for public comment, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) sent an email to their members with special instructions for registering to speak that differed from instructions given to the public. The email instructed members to send an email directly to the Hearings and Regulatory Affairs Manager, Julie Prine, rather than using the online registration form required of the public. The same email was sent to COGA members on Friday, hours after registration for the public had closed. The request raised questions as to whether or not the COGA attempted to give those speaking in favor of the industry priority during public comment.

When questioned at the hearing, COGCC’s Julie Prine stated that anyone who emailed her was directed to the same sign up form as the public. However, instructions in COGA’s email state The COGCC is asking that requests to provide public comment be sent directly to Julie.Prine@state.co.us. We recommend submitting your request to speak as soon as possible.” Additionally, in an an response asking if it was too late to sign up on Friday, COGA’s Scott Prestige responded, “It may not be.  The best thing to do will be to email Julie Prime below to see if she can get you in. Perhaps mention that you will keep it to 2-3min in support of the industry, so that she knows you intend to respect the process and not grandstand.

“Whether or not the COGCC collaborated with COGA in anyway to attempt to give preference to oil and gas speakers, this is just another example of this industry ignoring and attempting to bypass existing regulations and protocol in our state. The oil and gas industry is constantly pushing back and finding new ways to evade our regulatory agencies to maximize their own profits,” said Julia Williams of 350 Colorado.

Hundreds of local residents have given over 25 of hours of testimony in support of greater protections from residential, industrial oil and gas operations over the last year at COGCC meetings and over 1,100 complaints were filed in one year alone. Additionally, several letters representing a broad coalition of individuals and organizations have been submitted to Governor Hickenlooper demanding a halt to any new oil and gas permitting before the election.

This is a reasonable expectation of your office on behalf of the citizens of Colorado. We expect and deserve your unequivocal support for the Constitutional process of determining the will of the people through direct democracy by citizen initiated legislation. The voters have been duly empowered to make a law. This 11th-hour mass permitting is disempowerment and it’s just not right,” said Steven Todd – Faith Leaders for Prop 112.

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Link to Facebook live coverage of public comments period

Link to audio from COGCC YouTube Page

QUOTE DECK:

“I’m supporting the 2500′ setback initiative because I’m being told that I can’t do anything. As a mother I’m being told I can’t do what I need to do to protect my children,” said Paula Oransky of Erie, CO. “I’ve complained to my city council members, county commissioners, senators and COGCC, but everyone is pointing at each other saying they can’t do anything – it’s someone else’s responsibility. That is not acceptable to me as a mother that I can’t protect my children’s schools, home and playgrounds from benzene exposure and explosions. That’s why I’m supporting the 2500′ setbacks initiative and encourage you to do the same.”

“The overly-cozy relationship between the COGCC and the oil and gas industry is exemplified by their analysis of 2500’ setbacks that looked only at land surface area that would be off-limits to drilling and didn’t take into account the fact that the industry frequently horizontally drills 2 miles or more underground to access oil and gas far from surface drill sites,” said Micah Parkin with 350 Colorado. “This partial picture analysis promoted industry propaganda and led to public confusion that 2500’ setbacks would make the vast majority of oil and gas inaccessible when that is not the case. Once 2 mile horizontal drilling is taken into account, a recent CO School of Mines report shows that almost three times as much subsurface real estate for drilling or fracking is accessible, resulting not a 85% exclusion, but actually a 53% of nonfederal land subsurface. And when you factor in that 35.9% of Colorado is federal land, which Prop 112 cannot affect, this results in just 33.9% of CO subsurface land being off limits, which is very reasonable considering our booming residential areas that should be protected.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to pass Proposition 112 – a common sense measure that will protect public health & safety by creating a 2500 foot buffer zone between new oil & gas operations and our homes, schools and water sources.

To learn more about Prop 112, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 27 2018

Contact: Lauren Petrie: 720-663-0735 lauren5162@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

Another Oil & Gas Explosion Underscores Immediate Need for Prop 112

Three workers injured in Weld County oil tank battery explosion

DENVER — Early this morning, three workers were injured when a significant fire broke out at an oil and gas site in Briggsdale, CO in rural Weld County. Two workers were rushed to the hospital with injuries while a third suffered severe burns and was airlifted to a nearby hospital. Colorado Rising – the grassroots campaign behind Prop 112 – put out the following statement on today’s near-tragedy:

The explosion this morning in Weld County is yet another reminder of why so many Coloradans are moving to support Prop 112 to establish safer setbacks from drilling operations. Oil and gas operations are just too dangerous to be near our homes, schools and drinking water and currently endanger the health, safety, and property values of too many Coloradans.
 
With more than 55,000 active oil and gas wells in Colorado, many close to homes, businesses, schools, parks, and other public spaces, the risk of fire and explosion is real and growing. In 2017 also, there were more than 15 fires and explosions at oil and gas sites, many killing and/or injuring oil and gas workers and an explosion in Firestone killing two innocent men at home. Prop 112 creates a reasonable safety buffer between all new oil and gas wells and the homes, schools, churches, and other public spaces Coloradans should be able to enjoy safely and without the risk of harm.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to pass Proposition 112 – a common sense measure that will protect public health & safety by creating a 2500 foot buffer zone between new oil & gas operations and our homes, schools and water sources.

To learn more about Prop 112, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 25 2018

Contacts: Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 anneleefoster@gmail.com

Russell Mendell, 802-318-1135

***PRESS RELEASE***

Anti-Prop 112 Paid Advertising by ExxonMobil and others Goes Unreported in Latest Campaign Finance Report

Multinational oil and gas corporations pouring unregulated money to defeat Colorado ballot measure

Denver – On Monday October 29, opponents of Prop 112, Protect Colorado, reported that they have raised more than $41 million, including in kind donations. An additional $400k was raised by 112 opposition group Spirit of Colorado, according to the publicly available reports with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.

Beyond those record-setting sums of money, the No on Prop 112 campaign finance report is notable for what it does not include.  

Multiple political action committees have registered against Proposition 112, but to date have not reported any spending or contributions including ExxonMobil, No On Prop 112 and the Koch Brothers’ PAC Americans For Prosperity. This conflicts with the advertising reality Colorado voters are seeing online. ExxonMobil, for example, has paid for 53 Facebook ads against Prop 112 and may be exploiting the same federal loophole to circumvent reporting laws, as has been revealed in a report on Noble Energy’s campaign spending. Other companies running paid content against Prop 112 include ConocoPhillips and the law firm Kearney, Mcwilliams & Davis, PLLC.

Colorado Rising is considering filing a complaint with the Secretary of State to ensure that the dark money pouring in from multinational corporations against Prop 112 is reported in full.

The vast majority of the funding for Protect Colorado comes from the fossil fuel industry with more than $6.9 million from Anadarko Petroleum, more than $6.1 million from Noble Energy, more than 3.4 million from Extraction OIl and Gas, more than 2.2 million from SRC Energy, more than 1.9 million from PDC Energy, and more than $1 million from ConocoPhillips.

“Despite being outspent by tens of millions of dollars by the oil and gas industry and being targeted by opponents’ dirty tricks, Prop 112 is winning with voters”, said Anne Lee Foster with Colorado Rising. “That’s because Prop 112 does one simple thing to keep Colorado communities safe. It establishes a 2,500 foot safety barrier between dangerous drilling and fracking and our homes, schools and drinking water. The oil and gas industry can outspend us and hide their money in the process, but they aren’t fooling Colorado voters, who know a good idea when they see one.”   

According to campaign finance reports from the Secretary of State’s website, oil and gas industry spending in opposition to local efforts to regulate fracking over the past five years has exceeded $180 million. Industry-backed PR campaigns include the formation of almost a dozen industry-front groups designed to mislead the public and confuse voters, including a new group with a name confusingly similar to the proponents of Colorado Rising. Including money raised by oil and gas funded Amendment 74, oil and gas has pumped in more than $50 million dollars in this election cycle.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 18 2018

Contacts: Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 anneleefoster@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

Support for YES on 112 Continues to Grow as Powerful Organizations Endorse

DENVER – The YES on Prop 112 campaign received an additional boost of momentum this week with an endorsement from Conservation Colorado – the largest conservation-based organization in the state. In recent months, the campaign has racked up a wide variety of endorsements from faith-based organizations, youth groups, healthcare groups, local businesses, and prominent elected officials. Endorsing organizations range from local Colorado grassroots groups to national organizations with tens of thousands of supporters across the state.

In addition to a wide range of organizational and local business endorsements, the YES on 112 campaign has received endorsements from dozens of candidates running for seats at every level of government from city council races to Congressional candidates. Morgan Carroll, chair of the Colorado State Democratic Party made a recent public endorsement, and support from Eric Rutherford, running as a Republican candidate for HD33 in Broomfield proves that the YES for 112 campaign is not a partisan issue.


Prop 112 establishes a 2,500 safety distance between Colorado neighborhoods and new drilling and fracking sites, which has been shown to cause serious health and safety risks for nearby residents.

“Keeping oil and gas activities a safe distance from Coloradans’ schools, playgrounds, and hospitals is vital to protecting our communities and our environment. Conservation Colorado is proud to say yes to Proposition 112,” the organization said in a Tweeted statement.

The Conservation Colorado endorsement ads to a growing and diverse list of support for Prop 112 that includes:

  • 350.org
  • Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments
  • Colorado American Indian Movement
  • Colorado Interfaith Power & Light
  • Colorado People’s Alliance
  • Colorado Democratic Party
  • Colorado Democratic Party Chair: Morgan Carrol
  • Conejos Clean Water
  • Conservation Colorado
  • Emily Sirota
  • Environment Colorado
  • Greenpeace
  • Joseph Salazar
  • League of Women Voters
  • Moms Clean Air Force
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Our Revolution National
  • Physician for Social Responsibility
  • Progress Now
  • Sierra Club
  • Speaker of the house: KC Becker
  • State Senate Minority Leader: Lucia Guzman
  • Valley Organic Growers Association
  • Veterans for Peace
  • Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action
  • Working Families Party
  • Full list of YES on 112 endorsements here

Another recent, high profile endorsement is actor Mark Ruffalo who volunteered his voice for a recent short video


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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to pass Proposition 112 – a common sense measure that will protect public health & safety by creating a 2500’ buffer zone between new oil & gas operations and our homes, schools and water sources.

To learn more about Prop 112, please go to www.corising.org

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 15 2018

Contacts: Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 anneleefoster@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

New Analysis Proves Prop 112 is NOT a Ban

Mineral deposits remain accessible, despite industry use of scare tactics to sway voters

This month, an assistant professor from the Division of Economics and Business at the Colorado School of Mines released an analysis disproving industry claims that Proposition 112 is a ban on oil & gas development.  The report identifies subsurface minerals that will still be accessible under Prop 112’s proposed 2500 ft setback from new oil & gas development to protect homes, schools, playgrounds and waterways. The analysis was published as part of a commentary series through the school’s Payne Institute.

In the fracking process, oil and gas drills down to the shale layer and then out horizontally to access crude oil and gas trapped in the shale rock. The analysis found that if using only one mile laterals to drill horizontally, “42% of the non-federal subsurface would be accessible, or nearly three times the available surface area.” The oil & gas industry regularly drills double that distance and further in Colorado, making this a conservative estimate.

Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising stated, “This is proof of the industry’s use of wild exaggerations and fear-mongering to avoid even the most common sense protections for our communities. Oil & gas has chosen to use a misleading map, based on outdated technology, to convince the public that 112 is a ban, when in fact they would be able to access significant reserves, at least three times what they falsely claim. This analysis shows the industry can and will continue to operate in Colorado, all while protecting public health and safety with a commonsense buffer zone, based on health studies, from this toxic, industrial activity. We have seen these Chicken Little scare tactics from big corporations before, and Coloradans aren’t falling for it again.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 11 2018

Contact: Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 anneleefoster@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGNS CALL FOR INVESTIGATION INTO INCOMPLETE BLUE BOOKS

It has come to our attention that numerous 2018 Colorado Voter Guides, also known as Blue Books, that have already sent to voters are incomplete or missing pages. Voters in different locations have reported receiving Blue Books that are missing key information about several ballot issues, including Amendment A: Prohibiting Slavery and Involuntary Servitude in All Circumstances, Amendment 73: Funding for Public Schools, Proposition 111: Limitations on Payday Loans, and Proposition 112: Increased Setback Requirement for Oil and Natural Gas Development. Reports indicate that some of the Blue Books appear to be missing entire sections, pages 27-42 and 67-81.

Additionally, there was an omission on the “Voter Cheat Sheet” of the “yes/no” checkboxes for Proposition 112. This error appears to affect all Blue Books.

It is deeply concerning that voters have received incomplete Blue Books, especially with the mailing of ballots just days away. It is unclear how an error like this could occur, and inquiries into the Secretary of State’s office reveal that it is uncertain how many voters will receive or have received incomplete Blue Books. To achieve fair elections, the state must ensure that voter guides are accurate and complete so that voters have all the information they need to make an educated decision on all ballot issues.

An inquiry has been placed with the Joint Legislative Committee about the missing pages and what actions will be taken to notify voters of this error. We call for a thorough investigation into why some households received incomplete Blue Books and for the state to launch a PSA campaign informing voters of the issue and to provide new voter guides to households as requested.

  • Abolish Slavery Colorado
  • AFL-CIO
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • Colorado Education Association
  • Colorado Rising
  • YesOn112
  • YesOnAmendment73

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug 29, 2018

Contacts:

Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 anneleefoster@gmail.com

Suzanne Spiegel: 914-563-6080 suzanne.spiegel2@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

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

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug 6, 2018

Contacts:

Anne Lee Foster: 757-870-5102 anneleefoster@gmail.com

Suzanne Spiegel: 914-563-6080 suzanne.spiegel2@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

Colorado Rising Submits Enough Signatures for Safer Setbacks Initiative to Qualify for November Ballot

Despite numerous hurdles, signatures have been submitted for 2,500’ setbacks on fracking

DENVER —Colorado Rising submitted over 171,000 signatures for the “Safer Setbacks from Fracking” initiative to the Secretary of State this morning, far more than the threshold required to qualify for the ballot in November. This grassroots effort was led by more than 750 Colorado volunteers from across the state. Their passion and determination for protecting the health and wellbeing of their families overcame theft of petitions and a multi-million dollar opposition campaign that consisted of organized harassment, buyouts, and corruption.

Throughout the course of the campaign, harassers were paid to intimidate petition circulators and discourage voters from signing Initiative #97. 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 last week, Colorado Rising learned that the signature-gathering firm Petition Connection was paid off to stop collecting signatures for the initiative. This was confirmed in a recorded conversation with the owner of Petition Connection, Dan Fessler.

Initiative #97 creates 2500’ buffer zones between oil and gas operations and homes and schools, water sources and playgrounds. The distance of 2500’ – almost one-half mile – aligns with studies that show increased risk of negative health impacts within this zone. The setback distance also matches the emergency evacuation radius used by first responders when faced with explosions, fires and toxic leaks.  In 2017 alone, there were 15 oil and gas industry fires and explosions in Colorado including the tragic Firestone home explosion that killed two men and severely burned a schoolteacher.  More than 1,000 complaints have been filed in Colorado in a single year about contaminated water, inability to sleep or work due to noxious fumes and extremely loud noise, headaches, nosebleeds, asthma and other grave health impacts.

“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.”

“Oil and gas development has exploded over the last seven years in Weld County, and I have witnessed a change in the way people view the issue,” said Therese Gilbert schoolteacher from Greeley.  “As more people experience what it is like to have fracking happen so close to where they live – the explosions, weekly spill reports, their children getting asthma, they are now saying ‘enough is enough.’  When the frack wells started going in right behind schools, a line was crossed. The industry cannot be allowed to take risks with our children.”

“We are proud and thankful for this monumental effort by the people of Colorado to create a commonsense setback from this increasingly brazen and destructive industry. We are committed to protecting our neighborhoods from this explosive and toxic industrial development that risks our children’s health and jeopardizes the safety of our homes,” said Colorado Rising President Tricia Olson.

“With nine out of eleven bills killed in our legislature and hundreds of heartbreaking testimonies given to the COGCC with no action, it’s time our citizens are heard with this ballot measure.  It is long overdue, and I am pleased with the outpouring of support from so many statewide. The state has failed to protect us, so we’ve taken it into our own hands,” said Heidi Henkel, founder of Broomfield Moms Active Community.

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PRESS RELEASE

Aug 1, 2018

Contacts:  Lauren Petrie: 720-663-0735 lauren5162@gmail.com

Russell Mendell: 802-318-1135 russell.mendell@gmail.com

Signature gathering admits to Accepting buyout

from oil and gas industry

Initiative 97 continues to collect signatures despite industry interference in ballot process

Denver, CO – On Tuesday evening, Colorado Rising captured an audio recording of a conversation with Dan Fessler of Petition Connection, LLC admitting that he was paid to stop circulating Initiative 97 and to immediately leave Colorado instead of fulfilling his commitment to collect thousands of signatures for the measure. Fessler was subcontracted by Hiram Asmuth of Encore Political Services just days before abruptly dropping his work on the initiative. Although Fessler refused to say exactly who provided the buyout, he mentioned working with Tracy Taylor, of Taylor Petition Management, LLC and confirmed that Taylor is known for buying out petition entities, subcontractors and petition circulators to stop them from working on ballot initiatives.

Fessler also says he was asked to give all of the petitions that his team had collected to the party responsible for providing the buyout instead of releasing the signatures to Colorado Rising, which Fessler declined to do. When pressed about who was involved in making the request, Fessler did not refute that it was Protect Colorado – an oil and gas industry front group largely funded by Anadarko and Noble Energy – was involved. Protect Colorado has already spent millions campaigning aggressively against the initiative. Just last month, a leak from inside Anadarko, showed a company email encouraging employees to report the locations—in real time—of signature gatherers for Initiative 97 to a hotline connected to Protect Colorado. Karen Crummy of Protect Colorado recently claimed this was simply for opposition research, but on more than 100 occasions paid harassers have shown up specifically to intimidate Initiative 97 circulators shortly after a time and location was provided to the hotline.

Fessler’s admission comes less than a week after Colorado Rising publicly announced the theft of roughly 15,000 signatures by Mike Selvaggio of Direct Action Partners, LLC – the firm originally contracted to gather signatures for the campaign, but closed its doors and left the state overnight with seven boxes of petitions on July 18. The petitions have since been returned to Colorado Rising’s possession but these very serious incidents of harassment, theft, and buyouts raise question as to whether this is part of a larger coordinated effort to interfere directly with the democratic initiative process, specifically against Initiative 97.

“It’s absolutely disgusting to hear rumors that these firms are being bought out, but even more disgusting to find out that the rumors are true, straight from the horse’s mouth,” said Colorado Rising Board Member Lauren Petrie. “It’s unforgivable that these so-called professionals, along with the oil and gas industry, are willing to screw people out of their right to have a voice at the ballot box.”

“The level of corruption from the oil and gas industry in Colorado is astounding,” said Colorado Rising volunteer Russell Mendell. “They are pulling out every dirty trick in the book to subvert democracy. Luckily we have more than 600 volunteers hitting the streets who refuse to give up. We are doing everything we can to make sure that we make the ballot in November despite a coordinated harassment campaign designed stop us. The industry knows they can’t win playing fair, so they are stooping to the lowest of lows to keep the people of Colorado from having a say.”

“This is a movement led by mothers, grandmothers, teachers and health professionals,” said schoolteacher Therese Gilbert of Greeley. “We are looking out for our families and neighbors. This reckless industry is spending millions on ads, lobbyists and scandalous tactics, but they cannot drown out our voices to protect our homes, schools and everything we love about this state. This is a volunteer led-effort and we have spent thousands of hours working hard to ensure Coloradans have the opportunity to protect themselves and their community from fracking. We will not back down!”

Despite these blatant attacks to rob voters of having a voice this November, Colorado Rising is continuing to gather the required 98,492 valid signatures it needs to qualify the initiative for the statewide ballot. Initiative 97 aims to create safer setbacks from new oil & gas infrastructure by creating a 2500 foot buffer zone around homes, schools, hospitals, drinking water sources, and other vulnerable areas such as parks and playgrounds. The deadline for submitting signatures is this Monday, August 6th. The campaign is calling on volunteers during the final days to help offset time and resources that were lost as a result of this heavy-handed corruption and undermining.

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PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:

July 26, 2018

Signature gathering firm returns stolen petitions after fleeing the state and failing to pay hundreds of employees

Initiative 97 continues to collect signatures despite industry harassment and legal battles

Denver, CO– Last night, Colorado Rising, the proponents of Initiative 97, filed in Denver District Court to request an emergency hearing for the retrieval of seven large boxes of completed petition packets that were stolen. The boxes were taken without permission by the signature gathering firm Direct Action Partners (DAP) when they abruptly left the state last week. After a press conference this morning in Denver, Colorado Rising received information about the whereabouts of the petitions from DAP. The boxes were retrieved by Colorado Rising proponents at a Greyhound station around 5:00 p.m. in Denver without contingency.

In a recording released by Colorado Rising and confirmed by shipping receipts, DAP President Mike Selvaggio admits to shipping the boxes to Oregon on July 18. Direct Action Partners attempted to use the petitions to demand money and an agreement waiving DAP of responsibility and requiring Colorado Rising to keep DAP’s actions secret. Colorado Rising did not sign the contract and have not paid for return of signatures.

During the press conference, Colorado Rising attorney Joe Salazar stated, “we have initiated legal action to preserve the rights of thousands of Coloradans to sign petitions. The constitutional rights of Coloradans are being implicated.”

In a separate recording taken the day before signatures were shipped to Oregon, Mr. Selvaggio acknowledged that Colorado Rising made all payments and acted according to the contract. “You guys have acted in good faith, and I appreciate that,” Selvaggio said in the recording. “It pains me we have got to this point and I realize that it’s my fault—and my attorney would probably slap my face and tell me to shut up.” Colorado Rising is still considering further legal action.

“It’s illegal and immoral for DAP to have taken signatures that belong to the campaign,” said Suzanne Spiegel a proponent for Initiative 97. “This blatant betrayal was an awful shock to everyone who has been working so hard to get this initiative on the ballot. The good news is we have more than 550 committed volunteers across the state, and an amazing and dedicated grassroots donor network who are fired up and who won’t let this keep us from protecting the health and safety of our communities.”

This comes at a time where oil and gas companies are also being linked to calculated harassment of Initiative 97 signature gatherers. Since signature gathering began, both volunteer and paid gatherers have been continuously stalked, harassed and intimidated by paid protestors. A leaked email from Anadarko shows the company set up a hotline for employees to report to Protect Colorado, an oil and gas funded group, the locations—in real time—of signature gatherers.

The harassers have been recorded numerous times admitting they are being paid and have followed gatherers for hours, sometimes all the way to their homes. Protect Colorado spent $15 million on a “Decline to Sign” campaign in 2016 and has spent more than $10 million on the 2018 election. Oil and gas companies Anadarko, Noble and Extraction have each contributed more than $2 million to Protect Colorado, since the beginning of the year. A harassment complaint has been filed with the Boulder DA, and the DA’s office is informing other district attorneys along the Front Range about the widespread problem of harassment of Initiative 97 circulators.

“This is a movement led by mothers, grandmothers, teachers and health professionals,” said schoolteacher Therese Gilbert of Greeley. “We are looking out for our families and the neighbors next door. This reckless industry is spending millions on ads, lobbyists and dirty tricks, but they cannot drown out our voices to protect our homes, schools and everything we love about this state. This is a volunteer led-effort and we have spent thousands of hours working hard to ensure Coloradans have the opportunity to protect themselves and their community from fracking. We will not back down!”

Colorado Rising needs to collect 98,492 valid signatures in by August 6, to have their 2500 ft oil and gas setback initiative on the ballot. The initiative would create a safe buffer zone around occupied structures, waterways and other sensitive areas. More than 80 organizations and more than a dozen elected leaders have endorsed the initiative, including the Colorado State Democratic party.

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PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release:

June 20, 2018

Exposed: Oil and Gas Industry Secretly Paying Actors to Harass and Intimidate Citizens with Colorado Rising Ballot Initiative Campaign for Safer Setbacks

Campaign calls on Secretary of State to stop the bullying

Denver – Today, the Colorado Rising ballot campaign held a press conference to expose a harassment and intimidation campaign using paid actors targeting petition circulators. The initiative would allow voters to create safety zones around schools, homes, playgrounds and drinking water so that oil and gas operations will be kept 2500-foot away. Across the nation, in failed efforts to extort democracy, energy companies and other powerful interests have funded similar “astroturf” (fake grassroots) tactics with paid actors pretending to be local protestors.

“The oil and gas industry should be ashamed of itself, for using paid actors – fake protesters – to harass citizens who simply want to ask voters to better protect schools, homes, playgrounds and drinking water from oil and gas operations,” said Micah Parkin, a Colorado Rising Board Member. “Who do they think they are? We know the truth now. They’re bullies who’ll do anything to get their way. What kind of a lesson is this for the sons and daughters of energy executives? Here’s how we can thank them for their attempt to extort democracy: Sign the petitions and vote to protect our schools, homes, playgrounds and water sources this Fall. Keep oil and gas operations 2500 feet away from our neighborhoods. That’s called payback.”

Here’s what Colorado Rising volunteers and workers are reporting: In multiple cities across Colorado recently, the secretly paid harassers are specifically seeking out petition circulators for Colorado Rising at public events and locations. They then call in other harassers who stand uncomfortably close to the petition circulator and follow them around holding handmade signs with messages like “Would you trust this person with your info?” and yell at people not to sign the petitions. The harassers are typically large males whose behavior seems intended to intimidate both potential signers and petition circulators alike.

Anne Lee Foster, signature gatherer: “They shook signs and yelled that I was untrustworthy and generally smearing my character. The experience was scary, outrageous, dishonorable and unacceptable. Everyone has the right to participate in the democratic process. So, to have a big powerful corporation manipulate and try to extort that process, that so many have fought and died for, was alarming and incredibly saddening. The energy industry hired an actor, a fake protester, a harasser to try to scare me. Well, listen up: It didn’t work. Voters will have the final say.”

Why is the energy industry doing this? Because they fear the voters. They fear they won’t make as much profit as they could. They fear better protecting schools, homes, playgrounds and water will hurt their bottom line.

Cameron Baller, signature gatherer: “I was harassed by paid disruptors on three separate occasions. As tools of the oil and gas industry, these people were paid to hold signs, menace voters who wanted to sign my petition, and intimidate and follow me. They’re trying to steal the democratic process! Who do they think they are!? At one event, these people followed me for more than a half hour before I had to flee the event fearing for my own safety.”

In 2016, oil and gas companies funded similar “Decline to Sign” efforts through front groups like CRED (Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development), Protect Colorado and Black Diamond to keep from the voters greater protections for neighborhoods from fracking. Inside sources have told Colorado Rising volunteers that these same groups are responsible for this year’s harassment as well.

Colorado Rising is exposing these big money bully tactics and will deliver a log of the harassment to the Secretary of State’s office in a plea for help to stop what the campaign believes are illegal actions to prevent voters from deciding.

Susan Secord, signature gatherer: “Who do they think they are? Why do these people fear the voters? What is the oil and gas industry afraid of? This harassment happened to many of the volunteers. It’s a flagrant disregard for our democratic process. It’s disrespectful to America. It’s a failed attempt to keep the voters from deciding.”

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Visuals: photos and video footage of the harassment can be found here and is open for use by the press.


Media Advisory

For Immediate Release:

June 19, 2018

Contacts: Micah Parkin, micahparkin@gmail.com, 504-258-1247

Anne Lee Foster, anneleefoster@gmail.com, 757-870-5102

Oil and Gas Industry is Using Secret Paid Actors to Pose as Protesters and to Harass and Intimidate Colorado Rising Ballot Initiative Signature Gatherers

Denver – The Colorado Rising ballot initiative campaign will hold a news conference Wednesday at 10am to expose secret “astroturf” tactics, a deceitful strategy cropping up nationwide whereby powerful corporations such as the energy industry use paid actors to pose as protesters or harass citizens, and now being deployed here in Colorado.

The Colorado Rising initiative campaign seeks to create 2500’ safety zones between oil and gas operations and occupied buildings, such as homes and schools, playgrounds and water sources. Its campaigners will present video, audio and imagery of these paid actors harassing signature gatherers in various places around Greater Denver.

In multiple cities across Colorado, the secretly paid harassers are specifically targeting petition circulators for Colorado Rising at public events and locations. They then call in other harassers who stand uncomfortably close to the petition circulator and follow them around holding signs with messages like “Would you trust this person with your info?” and yell at people not to sign the petitions. The harassers are typically large males whose behavior is clearly intended to intimidate both potential signers and petition circulators alike.

In 2016, oil and gas companies funded similar “Decline to Sign” efforts through front groups like CRED (Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development), Protect Colorado and Black Diamond to block the democratic process and keep ballot measures designed to protect communities from fracking from qualifying  for the ballot. Insider sources have told Colorado Rising volunteers that these same groups are responsible for this year’s harassment as well. And we know Protect Colorado has already amassed a $8.4 million war chest to try to defeat these common sense protections for our communities. At the news conference, Colorado Rising will expose these big money bully tactics to the public and will deliver a log of the harassment to the Secretary of State’s office in a plea for help to stop what the campaign believes are illegal actions to affect Colorado’s democratic ballot initiative process.

  • When: Wednesday, June 20, 10am start -10:15am finish
  • Where: Secretary of State’s Office, 1700 Broadway, Denver – speakers will gather outside
  • Who: People who are circulating the Colorado Rising ballot initiative for 2500’ safety zones from fracking will speak about the harassment they have experienced or witnessed.
  • Why: The Colorado Rising campaign for safer setbacks wants to expose and put an end to these dirty and possibly illegal secret industry harassment tactics.
  • Visuals: Photographs of the harassment in action, plus video footage will be made available to the press.

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More information is available at www.corising.org.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4/6/2017

Contact:  Suzanne Spiegel, Colorado Rising, 914-563-6080, suzanne.spiegel2@gmail.com
Tricia Olson, Colorado Rising President, 303-246-4211, olynmawr@msn.com

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.”

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More information is available at www.corising.org.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
12/21/2017

Contact:  Suzanne Spiegel, Colorado Rising, 914-563-6080, suzanne.spiegel2@gmail.com
Micah Parkin, Colorado Rising, 504-258-1247, micahparkin@gmail.com

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.”

1 https://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/06/oil-gas-drilling-permits-development-construction-northeast-colorado/
2 https://www.denverpost.com/2017/12/06/colorado-oil-gas-explosions-since-firestone-explosion/

More information is available at www.corising.org.

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