PRESS RELEASES


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30th, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

 Colorado Rising Takes Aggressive Litigation Stance Against Extraction Oil and Gas (XOG) and COGCC

DENVER, COLORADO — Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. withdrew its COGCC applications for spacing and forced pooling permits for a well on the Livingston pad in Broomfield County, Colorado. The Broomfield Livingston pad has been a source of serious litigation since the beginning of 2019 and gained national notoriety when Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a video of the site emitting pollution. Cases have been filed in federal and state district courts to stop Extraction’s operation. This particular case resulted in Colorado Rising, on behalf of other objectors, filing a complaint in Denver District Court seeking a stay of all permitting in Colorado until COGCC rulemaking is complete under SB 19-181.

Had the COGCC granted these permits, hundreds of families and an entire community would have been further affected by the residential fracking operation that has already caused many health impacts. Extraction’s decision to withdraw the applications came just a few days after Colorado Rising, representing the community organization Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee, filed a supplemental brief with the COGCC identifying due process violations committed by Extraction.

“We made the conscious decision to take an aggressive litigation stance against any and all oil and gas operators seeking permits from the COGCC,” stated Colorado Rising Executive Director, former state representative, and lead attorney Joe Salazar. “Likewise, we have our sights set on the manner in which the COGCC is/is not implementing SB 19-181, which was promised to be a sea change in how the fossil fuel industry will be regulated. What we’ve seen is a confusing mess of arbitrary rules and regulations that do not meet the intent of SB 19-181,” said Salazar.

“Our community has been dealing with the same issue for three years now. We have followed the rules and gone through the proper channels time after time,” says WOGc Board Member Lizzie Lario. “We have been consistently told that although the rules and regulations probably were not designed to apply to residential drilling projects, these are the rules and regulations right now, and so the COGCC just clicks, rubber stamps, and approves permits.” Lario also states, “This is the exact reason legal action is necessary. There is an acknowledgment from those in power that the process is broken, yet permits continue to be approved. In light of the new Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment health study, the COGCC needs to pause residential permitting until rulemaking around SB19-181 is completed.”

While Extraction’s COGCC cases are now over for this particular residential oil and gas development, Colorado Rising intends to keep the Denver District court case going. “Because of statements from the COGCC director and the rulings of the hearing officers, we believe the COGCC will continue to repeat its arbitrary and unconstitutional conduct on future applications. At some point, this madness will end when rules are finally in place under SB 19-181. Until then, we will press ahead to pause permitting in order to protect Coloradans,” stated Salazar.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 29th, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Colorado Rising Statement on Firestone Explosion NTSB Report

FIRESTONE, COLORADO — Today, the National Safety and Transportation Board released their report and analysis of the fatal Firestone home explosion that occurred on April 17th, 2017. The report can be found here: https://ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/PAB1902.aspx

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising said: “This report further highlights the need for a pause on oil and gas permitting in the state. The multiple failures by oil and gas operators outlined in the report demonstrate these corporations cannot be trusted and they are only out to protect their bottom line. Don’t take our word for it–Anadarko employees testified to it in a lawsuit against the company from their own shareholders. Until the Polis administration can get a full understanding of where these ticking timebombs lie, how can they possibly take on the liability of more wells in neighborhoods?”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 17th, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Colorado Rising Statement on CDPHE Oil and Gas Health Impacts Study

DENVER, COLORADO– Today the Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association released a study on the health impacts of oil and gas in Colorado.

Of note, the study recognizes “…hematological toxicity associated with benzene was the critical toxic effect.”, meaning toxic levels of benzene in blood were potential harm from the documented emissions.

The CDPHE and the COGCC in a press conference repeated that the dangerous exposure levels were infrequent, yet the study concluded: “We also have high confidence that the estimated exposures reasonably represent some real-life exposures that could be experienced by people living near O&G facilities, due to the stochastic approaches to dispersion and ME assessment allowing the generation of thousands of acute-to-chronic exposure scenarios for individuals across the 2,000-ft radius. These approaches and findings can be used to further evaluate data needs and to support refinement of setback distances.”

The study also found “Exclusion of these compounds means our simulated total cancer risks from O&G operations are underestimated, but the degree of underestimation cannot be assessed accurately.”

The study “also did not calculate cancer risks for several chemicals in our assessment (styrene, isoprene, and ethylbenzene) classified by IARC or EPA as ‘possible’ or ‘probable’ human carcinogens, but for which human exposure-response models were not available. Exclusion of chemicals from our analysis results in lower estimates of HIs and total cancer risks than if we had included them.”

Ethylbenzene is almost exclusively emitted by oil and gas and is a known carcinogen. Dozens of Front Range residents have documented extremely high levels of ethylbenzene in their blood.

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director of Colorado Rising, the grassroots, citizen group behind Prop 112 said: “The insistence from the state that dangerous exposure to carcinogens from oil and gas is infrequent is concerning. The study looked at exposure from an individual well, not the dozens or hundreds of wells that people are living in close proximity to across the state. The state must look at the cumulative impacts of living near dozens of industrial fracking sites to understand the true impacts of this unprecedented development in our communities. This is a requirement of SB-181. In the case of one Erie mother, whose son’s blood test revealed 90+ percentile of benzene and ethylbenzene content, there are over 160 wells within a mile of their home and the son’s school.”

“Dozens of Front Range children have already documented off-the-charts levels of benzene in their blood, a known carcinogen of which the World Health Organization says there is no safe exposure level. Considering this documented exposure and the corroborative data of the study, the only responsible thing to do is pause oil and gas permitting and ensure that public health and safety is protected, as new legislation mandates. The CDPHE repeatedly stated they don’t know at what frequency the exposure is happening. How can they proceed with permitting if they don’t even know the level of harm being done in the first place? If more research is needed to determine the level of harm, how can Jeff Robbins ensure new permits are ‘sufficiently protective?’”

“This study also highlights the insufficiencies of oversight and enforcement of oil and gas extraction in Colorado. The study states “This is particularly important because emissions from O&G activities can vary greatly in time and by phase of O&G activity (Adgate et al., 2014; Allen, 2016; Brantley et al., 2015; CSU, 2016a; CSU, 2016b; McMullin et al., 2018; Thompson et al., 2017). This is especially pertinent to acute chemical exposures, which at high levels can be associated with headaches, nosebleeds, fatigue, dizziness, etc., depending on the chemical, intensity of exposure, and sensitivity of the individual.”

“A frequent story we hear from impacted residents, particularly with the recent drilling near homes in Broomfield, is they experience all of the listed symptoms from this chemical exposures, they report it to the state, but by the time the inspector makes it out to the site, often days later, the issue is gone because of this fluctuation. Again, how can they know what harm is being done if they can’t even respond in real-time as the problem would require?”

“Lastly, we feel the shift of the objective criteria from 1500ft to 2000ft highlights the arbitrary nature of the standards. Robbins has repeatedly stated no health data was used to develop the criteria and this reevaluation puts the rest of the criteria in question as to its protectiveness and substance.”

Please contact Anne Lee Foster for interview requests with residents living near drilling or that have documented VOCs in their blood.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 9th, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Colorado Rising Files Complaint to Halt Oil & Gas Permitting in Colorado

COGCC VIOLATING DUE PROCESS IN PERMITTING OF NEW WELLS

DENVER, COLORADO — Today, Colorado Rising, on behalf of Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee, filed a complaint requesting judicial review in Denver District Court concerning the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s process of approving new oil and gas permits.

On July 3rd, 2019, Extraction Oil and Gas filed for a permit for a wellbore spacing unit in Broomfield, well after SB-181 was signed into law. SB-181 is the oil and gas reform bill, passed by the state legislature this spring, that requires the prioritization of health and safety, evaluation of cumulative impacts, increased financial assurances for new drilling, among other things.

When mineral owners (Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee) in the area of the spacing unit brought the considerations of the new law to the COGCC’s hearing officer, the officer first expressed concern for not knowing how to proceed with permitting of the spacing unit because no rules where in place to fulfill the new requirements and address the concerns raised (paragraphs 15-17 in the complaint).

Later, Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee requested a stay on the hearing and for discovery to be granted in regards to health and safety, the financial health of Extraction Oil and Gas, and other considerations included in SB-181.  Those motions were denied by the hearing officer and Wildgrass was told that the old rules would apply to the permit application.  That decision triggered the complaint and request for relief.

Colorado Rising and Wildgrass have requested a stay on all permitting until the full rulemaking has taken place.  

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising said, “This case is an example of a systematic problem at the agency.  Governor Polis has created a quagmire by flipping oil and gas permitting on its head all while declaring that fracking approvals must continue.  Unfortunately, everyday people are the ones caught in the political crossfire and are suffering in their homes due to industrial fracking nearby.  Pausing the permits is the responsible thing to do.”

The complaint is attached.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 8th, 2019

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

***NEWS ALERT***

Colorado Rising Press Conference on New Legal Action

DENVER, COLORADO — Colorado Rising, the citizen effort behind Proposition 112, will be holding a press conference tomorrow, October 9th at 7:30 am on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.

The press conference will be to discuss a new legal action that the organization has taken in response to the passing of SB-181, the Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations bill, that the Colorado State Legislature passed this spring. The legal action addresses the permitting process at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Former House of Representatives member and Colorado Rising’s lead attorney Joe Salazar will be available for questions.

Colorado Rising will also be live-streaming the press conference on their Facebook page.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 24, 2019

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

***NEWS ALERT***

Youth and Concerned Coloradans to Hold Rally and Press Conference Urging Climate Action Before Monthly COGCC Hearing

THRONTON, COLORADO — Tomorrow, September 25th at 1:30 pm at the Margaret Carpenter Recreation Center in Thornton, youth and community members will gather for a rally and press conference with youth climate strike organizers before the public comment opens during the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s monthly meeting.

This month’s COGCC hearing falls during the Colorado Climate Strike Action Week, which kicked off last Friday with over 4 million people across the globe attending protests and demanding transformative action at scale with the climate crisis. The week of action (Sept. 21-29) brings attention to the local momentum building to end fossil fuel development and implement the solutions necessary to avoid a climate catastrophe. Colorado youth are demanding a future that protects their rights to clean air, water, and land – and an end to fossil fuel extraction, production and leasing.

Colorado residents are frustrated that the commission continues to approve new oil and gas permits, despite a new law (SB-181) enacted this past spring that charged the commission with prioritizing health and safety over industry profits. Residents are demanding that the full rulemaking mandated by the new law be executed before proceeding with more permits.

Youth are also speaking up and expressing concern with continued oil and gas permitting given mounting climate change indicators.

Nick Tuta of Sunrise Movement Boulder/Denver said: “Our planet is in a climate crisis, driven by fossil fuels. In a time when we need to be slamming on the brakes, each new permit fracking permit is pushing the gas pedal harder and harder. For our government to care more about industry profits than the health and safety of our community and of our plant is unconscionable.”

Sophia Chivers, a student at Niwot High School said: “It is absolutely unacceptable that a climate aware government continues to put the profits of fossil fuel companies over the health, safety, and welfare of their people.”

Liam Grove, 16, Denver said: “As a youth, it is disheartening that the people making decisions about my future are choosing to ignore it.”

Megan Neufeld, a Junior at Silver Creek High School said: “As a young person who will soon have to make decisions about my future, it’s terrifying to realize that any plans or ideas I have for that future will not mean anything if there is not a planet we are able to live on.”

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising said: “Recently, director of the commission, Jeff Robbins, boasted to industry representatives that the state is back to pre-181 permitting rates despite none of the protective requirements of the law being in place. How can we be permitting at these rates with no consideration of cumulative impacts like the law requires? How can we be back to the rubber stamp rates of the previous commission despite no consideration for the climate crisis we are facing?”

  • What: Climate Strike Action Week Rally & Youth Press Conference, immediately prior to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Hearing with Public Comment
  • When: Wednesday, Sept. 25th 1:30pm Rally & Youth Press Conference followed by public comment at COGCC hearing, beginning at 2:15pm
  • Where: Margaret Carpenter Recreation Center, 11151 Colorado Boulevard, Thornton, CO 80233
  • Who: Concerned Colorado residents, youth, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 5th, 2019

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

***NEWS ALERT***

Citizens Demand EPA Downgrade Air Quality in Rally at Hearing

DENVER, COLORADO — Concerned Coloradans will gather at the Environmental Protection Agency building in Denver, Colorado tomorrow morning at 8:30 am to demand they downgrade the Front Range and Denver’s air quality to a “serious non-attainment zone.”

The EPA is holding a public hearing to take comments on its proposal to strengthen smog protections for the Denver Metro and North Front Range area.

The area under review has been violating smog standards for more than a decade, due mostly to fracking, drilling and burning of fossil fuels. Due to a lawsuit from WildEarth Guardians, the agency has finally proposed changing our classification under the Clean Air Act from a “moderate” to “serious” non-attainment area.

This is change will increase protective measures to control smog-forming pollution and clamp down on oil and gas industry emissions.

Rally with impacted citizens will begin at 8:30 am in front of the EPA Region 8 Office, 1595 Wynkoop St., Denver, CO 80202.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 23, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Judge Reopens Case Involving City of Longmont’s Ban on Fracking Activities

Local control granted by SB 19-181 allows the 2012 voter-enacted law to stand

LONGMONT, COLORADO — Today, Judge Nancy Woodruff Salomone of the Boulder County District Court issued a motion to reopen City of Longmont v. Colo. Oil and Gas Ass’n. This is a first step to address an injunction prohibiting the implementation of Article XVI of Longmont’s Municipal Charter, which bans fracking within the City of Longmont. This Order comes in response to a motion filed by Colorado Rising on behalf of Our Longmont last week asking the Court to reexamine the case in light of recent changes to state law regarding oil and gas regulations.

The Longmont charter amendment was originally found to be in “operational conflict” with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act. With the implementation of SB 19-181, Colorado Rising has argued, Longmont’s ban is no longer in operational conflict and should be enforced.

Attorney Joe Salazar, Executive Director of Colorado Rising said, “We are excited that the District Court ordered this case be reopened. This is an important first step in the long fight to protect Longmont residents and the environment from the harm associated with fracking activities. We stand with Longmont residents to reinstate their voter-approved fracking ban.”

Please contact Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising, to interview defendants in the suit.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 14, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Longmont Residents Move to Lift Court Injunction on Oil & Gas Ban

Local control granted by SB 19-181 allows the 2012 voter-enacted law to stand
Join Colorado Rising and Longmont residents for a press conference on the matter today at 1 pm at the Colorado State Capitol in Room 0107.

LONGMONT, COLORADO — Today, Colorado Rising, on behalf of Our Longmont, filed a motion to reopen the City of Longmont v. Colo. Oil and Gas Ass’n case in Boulder District Court. This is a first step to lift an injunction by the Colorado Supreme Court prohibiting the implementation of Article XVI of Longmont’s Charter which bans fracking within the City of Longmont.

In 2012, Longmont voters overwhelmingly approved the charter amendment (Article XVI) to ban fracking within the city. At the time of the passage of Article XVI, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act (the “Act”) was much different than today.

The oil & gas industry wasted no time in bringing a lawsuit against the City of Longmont to challenge the will of voters. In May of 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court prevented the City of Longmont from enforcing its charter amendment. The Supreme Court held that the Amendment was in “operational conflict” with and preempted by state law. Thus, the Court prevented Longmont from enforcing Article XVI. Amendment XVI remains in Longmont’s charter.

This past spring, the Colorado General Assembly passed SB 19-181, which is considered a sea change in regulating oil and gas operations in the state. This sea change reinforced local government land use authority, provided local governments greater control over oil and gas operations, and eliminated preemption of state interest from the Act, among other things, making Longmont’s charter no longer in operational conflict.

In light of the new law, Our Longmont will ask the Boulder County District Court to lift the injunction and allow the City of Longmont to enforce its voter-approved Charter amendment.

Michael Bellmont, Resident of Longmont and defendant said of the motion, “In truly bipartisan numbers, voters overwhelmingly approved a ban in 2012 that the Supreme Court later said was trumped by state law. The law has changed and now the charter amendment needs to be enforced to protect the health, safety, and welfare of our residents. We deserve public health and safety…we voted for it…and we deserve our voices to be heard and honored.”

Attorney Joe Salazar, Executive Director of Colorado Rising said, “SB 19-181 in no way stops local governments from enacting a ban on fracking. Considering the climate crisis and Longmont’s already failing air quality largely due to oil and gas extraction in Weld County, a ban is reasonable and necessary to protect the health and safety of Longmont residents. SB 19-181 granted local control to Colorado communities and Longmont has the right to exercise its self-governance through implementation of their charter amendment.”

Dr. Detlev Helmig, Fellow and Associate Research Professor at the Institute of Alpine and Arctic Research (INSTAAR) at CU-Boulder said of the already failing air quality in Longmont, “Our measurements have shown concentrations of oil and gas-related pollutants in East Longmont were at a minimum on average 2-3 times higher than in most other large US cities. Longmont’s oil and gas-related pollution exceeded the levels seen in all of the 28 major urban comparison areas. Based on the known wind patterns, these pollutants are presumably coming into Longmont from the active oil and gas drilling and fracking in Weld County.”

The motion to reopen is Attached.

Please contact Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising, to interview defendants in the suit.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 13th, 2019

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

***NEWS ALERT***

Colorado Rising Press Conference on New Legal Action

DENVER, COLORADO — Colorado Rising, the citizen effort behind Proposition 112, will be holding a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, August 14th at 1 pm at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver in room 0107.

The press conference will be to discuss a new legal action that the group has taken in response to the passing of SB-181, the Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations bill, that the Colorado State Legislature passed this spring.

Former House of Representatives member and attorney Joe Salazar will be available for questions, as well as Colorado residents involved in the legal action.

Colorado Rising will also be live-streaming the press conference on their Facebook page.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 7th, 2019

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

Kate Merlin: 720-965-0854, kate@katemerlinlaw.com

Trisha Garcia-Nelson, 337-532-0135, patricia3nelson@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

COGCC Moves to Appeal Standing in Bella Romero Court Decision

Attempt to Block Injured Children from the Courts Echoes Pre-SB-181 Attacks on Health & Safety

DENVER, COLORADO — Last week, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted 5-4 to file a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court over the Court of Appeals decision on standing in Weld Air and Water v. COGCC, otherwise known as the Bella Romero lawsuit. The petition will challenge the Court of Appeals’ finding that the citizen groups representing local children and their families had a right to challenge in court the approval of a 24-well “mega” pad approximately 720 ft. from their school’s playground.

This site has been called “the most fracked school in America” and has become a poster child in the fight against neighborhood drilling in Colorado, being featured in the New York Times and on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. 

The Commission vote split along gender lines, with all five male Commissioners voting to ask the Court to overturn the Court of Appeals and allow the Commission to continue to act as a “gatekeeper” with final determination of who may or may not challenge its decisions.

During the debate of whether to challenge the Court of Appeals’ ruling, some Commissioners repeatedly cited the potential threat of “frivolous lawsuits.” One Commissioner suggested that if the groups had the right to challenge the COGCC in court then a hypothetical store owner in Kansas who sometimes sells potato chips to oil workers could sue the Commission for lost revenue for denying an application.

Attorney Kate Merlin said of the decision: “Kids’ safety isn’t the same as potato chip revenue. It’s outrageous that the COGCC is trying to return to the Supreme Court to smack school children over health and safety, again,” referencing the 2018 Martinez v. COGCC case. “The Court of Appeals decision on standing was clear and well supported. This is supposed to be a new Commission after SB-181 but they’re acting exactly as they always have. I’m extremely saddened and disappointed by this action.”

Mother of a Bella Romero student and member of a plaintiff group in the case, Patricia Garcia-Nelson said: “How dare the COGCC attempt to challenge an injured child’s right to the court process. Why is it every time the COGCC finds itself at the Supreme Court it’s over children trying to defend themselves? While on the campaign trail, Jared Polis said, ‘All Coloradans deserve to be safe, at home, at school, and at work.’ I call on the Governor to make good on this statement and instruct his administration to not to pursue the appeal and to stand up for the rights of all Coloradans to challenge corporate power through the courts. The vote by the commission he appointment signals to the people of Colorado that nothing has changed under the new law of SB-181 and we are still grossly disenfranchised against the interests of the oil and gas companies when it comes to state oversight.”

Access to the judicial system through courts of law is a fundamental constitutional right guaranteed by the First Amendment. “Standing” is the gatekeeper to those courts, requiring that plaintiffs show 1) injury in fact, 2) causation, and 3) redressability.

Anne Lee Foster, communication director for Colorado Rising said: “The COGCC, which is an unelected agency consisting of part-time members appointed by the Governor, is seeking to limit citizens’ access to the courts by creating its own rules on standing, limiting what qualifies as an “injury” to dramatically narrow the categories of people who qualify to sue it. If Commission rules on standing are allowed to deny Coloradans’ access to our courts the Commission can make itself virtually immune to any challenge to its life-or-death decisions over siting of these dangerous facilities.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 31st, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Oil & Gas Fire Kills One in Windsor

Same Day as Colorado Residents Call for a Halt on Permitting Until Protection of Health and Safety can be Proven

WINDSOR, COLORADO — The same day that concerned Colorado residents called for a time out for oil and gas permitting until health and safety can be definitively proven by the state, a worker is killed in an oil and gas tank fire in Windsor, Colorado. 

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising, the group behind Proposition 112 said of the incident: “It’s a tragic irony that mere hours after oil and gas industry representatives testified to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission about the exceptional lengths they take to protect health and safety, a worker has been killed in an oil and gas fire. Residents who spoke at the COGCC hearing today detailed the inadequacy of current regulations and this is a perfect example of how those regulations and the Commission are failing Colorado. While this site may be located in a rural area and likely had little impact on nearby residents, what happens when a similar incident breaks out in Broomfield, Aurora or Commerce City where wells are being permitted very close to homes and schools? Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim and we vow to continue to fight to protect Colorado residents and the environment.” 

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 28th, 2019

Contacts:Anne Lee Foster, Colorado Rising, (757) 870-5102, anneleefoster@gmail.com

Statement on Boulder County’s 9-Month Emergency Moratorium

DENVER — On Friday, June 28th, the Boulder County Commissioners voted to enacted a 9-month emergency moratorium on new oil and gas development and seismic testing in the county.

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising, the grassroots citizen group behind Prop 112, said: “Boulder makes at minimum the eighth Colorado community to enact an emergency moratorium on oil and gas permitting in light of SB-181. This is further proof that there is still much to be determined as to how SB-181 will be implemented and government authorities need time to properly execute. Particularly with regulations still unsure at the state level, these eight communities are leading by example in taking the appropriate time to ensure they are effectively protecting public health and safety from large-scale industrial development within their borders. The state would be wise to take similar measures while completing rulemaking to account for cumulative impacts, the climate crisis and other potential harms to health, safety, welfare, and the environment.”

Communities that have enacted moratoria include Erie, Adams County, Broomfield, Berthoud, Timnath, Superior and Lafayette. We have also heard Severance has enacted a moratorium as well but have not been able to confirm. 

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 21st, 2019

Contacts:Anne Lee Foster, Colorado Rising, (757) 870-5102, anneleefoster@gmail.com

Response to COGCC Director’s Statement Regarding Pausing Oil & Gas Permits

DENVER — On Monday, May 21st, the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission held its first public hearing since the new Commissioners were appointed by Governor Jared Polis. COGCC Director, Jeff Robbins, responded to concerned residents and communities groups call for a pause on permitting until SB-181 was fully promulgated stating he would not pause all permits and he felt he was operating within the bounds of SB-181 by creating the objective criteria to identify permits for further evaluation.

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising, the grassroots citizen group behind Prop 112, said: “SB-181 mandates a cumulative analysis of health impacts for oil and gas development in Colorado. The objective criteria established by the commission does not address this charge at all, and in fact, encourages a piecemeal evaluation process, making the criteria inherently in violation of 181. Furthermore, the objective criteria have no quantitative basis for preventing harm, as far as the public is aware. For all we know, the criteria are completely arbitrary in its establishment. Until the commission can prove that the criteria objectively and quantitatively protects health in safety, the commission is not acting in accordance with the law.”

Read the letters calling for a pause on permitting here and here.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 13th, 2019

Contacts: Anne Lee Foster, Colorado Rising, (757) 870-5102, anneleefoster@gmail.com

Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians, (303) 437-7663, jnichols@wildearthguardians.org

Colorado Rising, WildEarth Guardians, and Local Environmental Community Groups Notify Polis Administration of Necessity to Halt Oil and Gas Permitting

Public Health and Safety First: Groups Say New Law Requires A Pause In Fracking During Rule Making

DENVER — On Monday, May 13th, Colorado Rising, a grassroots, community-led environmental group, and WildEarth Guardians, a western advocacy group enforcing clean air standards, sent letters to Governor Polis, the Colorado Department of Public Health, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, notifying the administration of the need to pause oil and gas permitting while it moves quickly and aggressively to safeguard public health from oil and gas development in the wake of newly enacted SB-181.

“As our Department of Public Health and Environment moves to protect our clean air and health, it’s imperative that they strive to secure deep pollution cuts and rein in unpermitted fracking,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Direction for WildEarth Guardians. “As the Front Range continues to fail clean air standards due to oil and gas, it’s clear the old rules have failed us. It’s time for big changes.”

The letters, sent by WildEarth Guardians and Colorado Rising, and signed by Adams County Communities for Drilling Accountability NOW, 350 Colorado, Broomfield Clean Air & Water, Broomfield Moms Active Community, Frack Free Colorado, Wildgrass Oil and Gas Committee, Front Range Residents for Environment, Safety and Health, Mothers Out Front Colorado, 301 Broomfield, Broomfield Concerned, The Lookout Alliance, and North Range Concerned Citizens detail the need for careful and thoughtful consideration during the oil and gas permitting process including an immediate pause on oil and gas permitting, and to ensure a transparent and clear path forward for rulemaking and public participation in new rulemaking processes in order to honor the new mandates set out by S.B. 181.

“Due to the passage of S.B. 181, state regulators are obligated to protect public health and safety in the permitting process. That obligation extends to rulemaking and regulators need to pump the breaks on permitting before irreparable damage is done,” said Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising. “The current set of regulations has no basis in health and safety and the state owes the people of Colorado the due diligence to fully examine the existing health impact data to ensure new extraction is done in a manner that accounts for all potential impacts, including the cumulative impacts to our climate.”

S.B. 181, also known as “Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations,” elevates public health, safety, welfare, the environment, and wildlife resources above unmitigated oil and gas production. S.B. 181 revamps the makeup of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), mandating no less than six rule changes, from flow line regulation to methane leaks, and overhauls the COGCC’s mission from “fostering” the growth of the oil and gas sector to “regulating” it.

The legislation also requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Quality Control Commission to adopt new rules to rein in oil and gas industry air pollution, ensure better monitoring of toxic emissions, and overall strengthen safeguards to protect public health.

The need to do better for clean air is paramount in the Denver Metro-North Front Range region.  This nine-county region, which includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, and parts of Larimer and Weld Counties, is facing an inevitable “bump up” in its ozone non-attainment classification due to an ongoing failure to attain health-based ambient air quality standards.

Susan Noble, a resident of Commerce City, said: “When we first discovered that fracking was planned under more than a dozen subdivisions we were shocked to learn that we were at the mercy of state laws that favored the oil and gas industry over citizens. Passage of S.B. 181 gave us hope that our health, safety and welfare finally mattered. But the process is like a runaway train. It’s running down the track with no gates, no guardrails in place. We’re scared the health of our community will be sacrificed because no one thought through what it meant for Colorado to have more than 6,000 wells sitting in the COGCC pipeline, with the clock ticking, a bureaucratic process stuck in the past, and an industry still operating as the conductor.”

The first COGCC meeting to discuss the implementation of the of S.B. 181 will be Wednesday, May 15th from 8:30-10 am in the Wasatch Hearing Room, COGCC Main Office, 1120 Lincoln St. (8th Floor), Denver, Colorado. This hearing only addresses the “500 rulemaking series” which covers procedural and administrative changes at the agency. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has yet to publish a schedule pending rulemaking hearings.

Large public attendance is expected at each rulemaking meeting.

Letters submitted are available here and here.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 16th, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Colorado Rising Statement on Polis Signing SB-181

DENVER — On Tuesday, April 16th at 3:30 pm the Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, will sign SB-181 into law.

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director of Colorado Rising, the grassroots, citizen group behind Prop 112 said: “While SB-181 does not address all of the concerns and threats associated with industrial fracking activity, it is a desperately needed tipping back of enormously unbalanced scales in favor of people and environment. SB-181 is the most substantial shift we have seen in decades and puts communities on much better footing when confronted with industrial oil and gas in their backyards.”

“For decades, Colorado residents have pushed for common sense protections (Protect Act, Regulate Oil Gas Operations for Protect Public Safety bill, Operators Liable For Oil And Gas Operations bill, etc.) to prioritize health and safety that have died at the hands of an oil and gas controlled legislature. Without the constant pressure and environmental advocacy applied by Colorado Rising and partner organizations, the oil and gas industry would still be operating in its usual haphazard and dangerous manner.  Our success in getting Prop 112 on the ballot and securing 45% of the electorate despite being outspent at least 40-1 last year, forced lawmakers to take heed to citizen pleas and reckon with this reckless and monied industry.”

“Colorado Rising will continue to stand with residents and ensure the state is living up to their new mandate of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of people and environment first. There is still much work to be done.”

Colorado Rising will be available for comment on the West steps of the Capitol directly following the Governor’s signing at 3:30 pm today. 

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 3rd, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Colorado Rising Statement on SB-181 Passing Out of Senate

DENVER — On Wednesday, April 3rd the Colorado Senate passed SB-181 with the House’s amendments. Now it awaits Governor Polis’ signature to become law.

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director of Colorado Rising, the grassroots, citizen group behind Prop 112 said “Despite some concerning amendments, SB-181 is still a step in the right direction. There were some very obvious loopholes and major concessions granted to industry. While SB-181 does not address all of the concerns and threats associated with industrial fracking activity, it is a desperately needed tipping back of enormously unbalanced scales in favor of people and environment over corporate profits.”

“Rule-making will be critical in protecting Coloradoans and making sure 181 fulfills the new mandate of prioritizing health and safety. Colorado Rising will be there to empower communities and fight for and our environment and public health.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 29, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Colorado Rising Statement on SB-181 with Amendments

DENVER — On Thursday, March 28th, the Colorado House of Representatives amended and passed SB-181 to better regulate the oil and gas industry in Colorado.

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director of Colorado Rising, the grassroots, citizen group behind Prop 112 said “Despite some concerning amendments, SB-181 is still a step in the right direction. There were some very obvious loopholes granted to industry. Rule-making will be critical in protecting Coloradoans and making sure 181 fulfills the new mandate of prioritizing health and safety. Colorado Rising will be there to empower communities and fight for and our environment and public health.”

 

Breakdown of concerning amendments: 
  • Page 7, line 7 – Who decided what an appropriate circumstance to use pneumatic devices is?
  • Page 8, line 5, 6 – This addition greatly narrows the authority of local government. Overall an unnecessary and confusing addition.
  • Page 19, line 13, 14 – huge loophole for conflict of interest for commissioners
  • Page 26, line 11, 12 – gratuitous addition of reasonable, makes it very ambiguous
  • Page 33, 22-24 – This is a huge loophole to allow the industry to force pool without the 45% mineral owner agreement threshold. Mineral owners who cannot be identified are not included in the overall percentage of agreeing mineral owners. This provides NO DUE PROCESS for unknown mineral owners and doesn’t even require due diligence to identify mineral owners, only reasonable diligence. This is a big issue because industry often can’t identify mineral owners and this will undercut the 45% threshold. 

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 13, 2019

Contacts:

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

Joe Salazar: 303-895-7044, jas@salazarlaw.net

***NEWS ALERT***

SB-181 Passes Out of the Senate

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising, the grassroots, citizen group behind Prop 112 said “We maintain our neutrality on the bill, but are concerned that the amendments added last night strip power from the intent of the bill and will cause litigation nightmares for communities that try to exercise increased protections from oil and gas.

We are concerned about what “necessary and reasonable” means in the context of the amendments. The oil and gas industry has a history of sliding in seemingly innocuous language that in application blunts much sought after protections.

We are also concerned that the technical boards will serve as a pseudo-COGCC, taking away decision making from local governments. Also, we are concerned that technical review boards will be nothing more than hand-selected oil and gas rubber stamps looking to bypass the main goals of the bill.

Protecting health, safety, welfare, and environment is paramount. The oil and gas industry has a history of desiring loopholes that say they will protect the environment or people only if it’s technologically feasible. If they can’t protect the people and environment based on current technologies, they shouldn’t be drilling until those capabilities are present.”


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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 28, 2019

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

***NEWS ALERT***

Oil and Gas Impacted Citizens Available for Interview

Making the Case for Reform

DENVER – Today, Governor Jared Polis will hold a press conference at 1 pm to introduce the omnibus oil and gas reform bill. This bill has not been released to the public for review.Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director for Colorado Rising said: ” We find it curious to make a public statement about a bill that is not even public yet and has only been reviewed by a select group. It’s premature for us to respond because we haven’t had a chance to review the bill in full. Having a press conference and asking for support on language, still unknown, is bizarre at best.”

Impacted Residents Available for Interview: Please bear in mind that all these folks are working and have families! They will do their best to be available to share their stories of living with oil and gas and to give examples of why we need reform. NOTE: They are not endorsing the bill, just making the case for reform. 
  • Kathryn Maciula, 972-741-2259 Lived in Erie, she and her children tested in the 90+ percentile for benzene and were experience health impacts, moved to Estes Park, symptoms completed stopped and benzene dropped to 0.
  • Monica Korber, mjarvis2000@aol.com, 303-898-0303 Erie Resident, experienced adult-onset asthma when drilling started nearby.
  • Cristen Logan, cristen.logan@yahoo.com720-951-2570 Broomfield resident, has been working to stop fracking in Broomfield for 3 years, can speak to futile, hamster wheel of hearings citizens are subjected to with no real change to be seen. Involved in the task force, lawsuits, etc. Daughter experienced nosebleeds from a site that the CDPHE acknowledge “had physical impacts.”
  • Miguel Ruiz, miguelfordenver@gmail.com, 720-666-1706 Former industry worker, injured on the job.
  • Erika Stutzman Deakinerika.deakin@gmail.com, 303-517-8024 (available for phone or email interview) Erie resident, experienced her home shaking from drilling going underneath, nauseating smells, loud noises all night that prevented them from sleeping for months on end.
  • Dana Bove, danajbove@gmail.com, 303-475-9947 Boulder resident, working to protect bald eagles for decades, direct experience with the lack of due process at the COGCC and their disregard for federal wildlife protections.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations. To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 12, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

Judge hands win to Colorado Rising on behalf of Broomfield’s Wildgrass Residents in TRO Hearing for the Forced Pooling Suit

DENVER – Today, Colorado Rising, the grassroots citizen group behind Prop 112, and the residents of the Wildgrass neighborhood in Broomfield were handed a win in federal court, involving a legal challenge to Colorado’s forced pooling statute. The Court ordered the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission to guarantee that no drilling would occur at the site in question until all the appropriate hearings have occurred at the administrative level.

In the oral ruling, the Court ordered the COGCC to hold the March 11, 2019 forced pooling hearing without postponement. Wildgrass will now be allowed to raise concerns involving, health, safety, welfare, just and equitable shares, and other matters. This might be the first time such concerns have been ordered to be addressed by the COGCC in a forced pooling protest.

Anne Lee Foster, Communication Director for Colorado Rising said, “We are very pleased with this initial victory and this is just the beginning of Colorado Rising challenging the systems and policies that heavily favor the oil and gas industry and allow them to take advantage of Coloradans on a daily basis.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 11, 2019

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

***NEWS ALERT***

Temp. Restraining Order Hearing in Forced Pooling Case Continued Tomorrow

Community Awaits Pivotal Decision

DENVER – On Tuesday, February 12th at 11:00 am, the hearing for Colorado Rising, the grassroots, citizen group behind the Prop 112 effort, and the Wildgrass community’s motion for a temporary restraining order in the forced pooling lawsuit against the state will continue. A decision on the restraining order motion should be issued tomorrow. This could halt Extraction Oil and Gas’s development at the site in question in Broomfield.

Key quotes from Friday’s hearing:

Judge: “If they {the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission} are going forward before hearings they are starring right down the barrel of the due process gun.”
Witness 2: “That’s the COGCC rules.”
Judge: “Well the due process clause of the constitution trumps that.”

Judge: “It {COGCC} sounds like a kangaroo court, but I doubt that is how you are operating.”

Judge: “There doesn’t have to to be a forced pooling hearing before they drill your property?”

Witness 3: “No.”
Judge: “What happens if they drill and then I tell them they can’t force pooling.”

W3: “That’s why we are asking for a restraining order.”

Judge: “I don’t think they should drill holes in the ground until they know if they can force pool.

Plaintiff attorney: “How did you feel to be forced into a business relationship with a company that you already expressed concerns about?”

Witness 2: “If something happens in our neighborhood, like the Firestone incident, I’m profiting off that? That’s not who I am at all.”

~~~

The hearing will be at the Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse at 901 19th St., Denver, Colorado 80202 in room A 902.Read the press release about the lawsuit here.

Follow Colorado Rising’s twitter for live-tweet updates of the proceedings. You can read the live-tweets from Friday’s hearing.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.
To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 7, 2019

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

***NEWS ALERT***

Temporary Restraining Order Hearing in Forced Pooling Case Tomorrow

Community Awaits Pivotal Decision

DENVER – On Friday, February 8th at 1:30 pm, the hearing for Colorado Rising and the Wildgrass community’s motion for a temporary restraining order in the forced pooling lawsuit against the state will be held. Colorado Rising is the group behind the Prop 112 effort.

The hearing will be at the Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse at 901 19th St., Denver, Colorado 80202 in room A 902. 

Read the press release about the lawsuit here.

Follow Colorado Rising’s twitter for live-tweet updates of the proceedings.

Anne Lee Foster, Communication Director for Colorado Rising said about the suit “The practice of forced pooling is, in essence, a taking of private property for corporate gain by order of the state. Forced pooling is a prefect example of Colorado’s antiquated oil and gas laws that must be updated in accordance with modern technology, including horizontal fracking and the practice of residential drilling. The oil and gas industry has long used forced pooling as a means of coercing mineral owners into unreasonable, below market leases and forced extraction of their mineral property. The practice is relied on so heavily by the industry, that some operators list changes to forced pooling regulations as a risk to their financial viability. The practice is clearly an egregious violation of property rights and must end.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 22, 2019

Press Contacts:

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

Jean Lim: 720-920-9948, wildgrassogc@gmail.com

Elizabeth Lario: 303-469-0603, wildgrassogc@gmail.com

***PRESS RELEASE***

Lawsuit Challenging the Constitutionality of Colorado’s Oil and Gas Forced Pooling Statute Filed in Federal Court

DENVER – Today, Colorado Rising on behalf of mineral owners in Broomfield filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for Colorado challenging the constitutionality of the forced pooling provision of the Colorado Oil and Gas Act. CRS § 34-60-116(6).

Forced pooling — which dates from the 1930s — enables the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to give private oil and gas companies access for drilling to a citizen’s mineral property, even if the owner doesn’t want to sell or lease the minerals.

In Colorado, the forced pooling statute has no requirement that the gas and oil operators own or lease any threshold amount of minerals in the drilling and spacing unit before they are allowed to force all non-consenting mineral owners‘ minerals into the fracking project. In fact, because Colorado’s forced pooling law has not been updated to account for huge horizontal fracturing operations and projects in residential areas, there could be hundreds of non-consenting owners being force pooled by one operator.

There were over 900 mineral owners listed on the forced pooling application by one operator for a single well pad in Broomfield. Statewide, operators requested to pool approximately 30,000 non-consenting mineral owners in 2018 alone. COGCC doesn’t track any information about how many estates have been forced pooled so accurate data is hard to obtain.

Colorado is one of the few states that has what is known as a penalty forced pooling statute. Other states require a threshold, usually a majority, of mineral rights owners to voluntarily participate in the fracking project before the operator can force the non-consenting owners to participate. Colorado severely penalizes the non-consenting mineral owner by limiting the royalty they are given and requiring them to pay two times what consenting owners pay for some costs of the fracking project.

Under the current law, mineral owners’ only choice is to lease their minerals or have their minerals force pooled. Thus, many mineral owners report that they signed leases under duress and would have preferred to have the right to decide when or if they monetize their minerals or to leave their minerals in the ground due to health, safety, and environmental concerns.

The complaint challenges the statute on constitutional grounds, including arguments that the law violates mineral owners’ rights to contract, equal protection, freedom of association, and due process among others. The full complaint is attached. The complaint alleges that the whole mineral market has been negatively affected by forced pooling, and operators use this unconstitutional law to strong arm mineral owners into unreasonable leases. They have requested an immediate restraining order and a preliminary injunction due to the eminent threat posed to Colorado mineral owners.

Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising said about the suit “The practice of forced pooling is in essence a taking of private property for corporate gain by order of the state. Forced pooling is a prefect example of Colorado’s antiquated oil and gas laws that must be updated in accordance with modern technology, including horizontal fracking and the practice of residential drilling. The oil and gas industry has long used forced pooling as a means of coercing mineral owners into unreasonable, below market leases and forced extraction of their mineral property. The practice is relied on so heavily by the industry, that some operators list changes to forced pooling regulations as a risk to their financial viability. The practice is clearly an egregious violation of property rights and must end.

Jean Lim, a Broomfield mineral owner that is being force pooled, says “We feel powerless. It’s hard to believe this can happen in the U.S. I always thought property rights were protected, and certainly never thought the government could take my property and give it to a private entity over my objections. This whole situation is frustrating and frightening.”

Elizabeth Lario, another Broomfield mineral owner, explains that the plaintiffs have been trying for over two years to work with operators, legislators and COGCC in an attempt to protect their rights to no avail.  Lario says “… at almost every turn we have been ignored. We are just regular people and have been forced to spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars over the last two years just to get up to speed and protect our rights and the health, safety and welfare of our community.  Given what’s happened to us we worry about the exploitation of neighborhoods without resources or information.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 14, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

CO RISING COMMENTS ON FINAL MARTINEZ RULING

DENVER – On Monday, January 14th at 9am the Colorado Supreme Court issued its decision in favor of the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission in the pivotal case, Martinez v. COGCC.

Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising said, “The Supreme Court’s job is to decide what the law says, not if it is correct or moral. This decision validates all of our concerns that the State is not adequately protecting public health and the regulations are insufficient. It is hard proof that the law is written against the best interests of the people, and in favor of oil and gas industry profits. Considering the unprecedented amount of pending drilling permits being slated for mostly urban areas in Colorado and the large body of health studies showing negative impacts from living near oil and gas. We call on Governor Polis to put a pause on all new drilling and permitting until the legislature can modernize the laws to deal with clear and present threat that horizontal drilling and fracking in neighborhoods poses to public health and safety. An agency that is charged with promoting an industry rather than protecting the public from harm is doomed to catastrophic failure. To this day the COGCC has never turned down a permit. We implore our lawmakers to act swiftly to prevent another tragedy, like the deadly Firestone explosion, from happening again.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 4, 2019

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

COLORADO RISING DEMANDS MORATORIUM AT CAPITOL ON OPENING DAY OF THE LEGISLATURE

DENVER – Colorado Rising, the group behind the Prop 112 effort, completed its first direct action of 2019 today. Coloradans gathered at the State Capitol from 7:30-8:30 am on Friday, January 4th, the Opening Day of the legislative session, to demand a moratorium on new drilling until a state-sponsored health assessment of existing data is completed and new rule-making based on its findings are enacted.

“Prop 112 garnered over 1.1 million votes from Coloradans despite being opposed by a $40 million propaganda campaign, proving Coloradans are concerned about the impacts of oil and gas extraction on our communities.  With over 6,000 drilling permits pending at the state level, about three times the number this time last year, it is simply good policy to enact a moratorium to allow time for science-based rule-making to be made.  Additionally, the Appeals Court decision on the Martinez case is standing state law, and to allow for this onslaught of permits to go unchecked is a violation of that ruling.” said Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 2, 2019

Contacts:

Joseph Salazar: 303-895-7044,  jas@salazarlaw.net

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

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

COLORADO RISING ANNOUNCES REP. JOE SALAZAR AS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND FIRST ACTION AT OPENING DAY OF THE LEGISLATURE

DENVER – On Wednesday, January 4th, Colorado Rising, the group behind Proposition 112, publicly announced the hiring of civil rights attorney and former state representative, Joseph Salazar, as Executive Director of the organization.

Joe has been a longtime advocate for communities in the fight against oil and gas. During his tenure as a state representative, Joe introduced important and bold legislation to hold the oil and gas industry accountable, such as the Regulate Oil Gas Operations for Protect Public Safety bill, which would have codified the Colorado Court of Appeals’ Martinez decision, and the Operators Liable For Oil And Gas Operations bill. In 2014, Joe led a small team of representatives to kill a bill that would have given private oil and gas pipeline companies the power to condemn people’s private property.

Joe is a Colorado native whose roots in Colorado and New Mexico go back hundreds of years. The first in his family to go to college, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, he worked for the state as a civil rights and criminal investigator.  In 2003, Joe graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. For the past 15 years, Joe’s practice has included high profile employment discrimination and constitutional law cases, primarily against bad government actors and abusive industries.

Colorado Rising also announced the hiring of Suzanne Spiegel as the Director of Development and Anne Lee Foster as the Director of Communications and Volunteer Engagement. Suzanne and Anne Lee have been involved in the fracking resistance movement for years and were key players in the Proposition 112 campaign as volunteers in these roles. They also served as proponents of the ballot measure.

“I am excited to have Joe onboard as Colorado Rising’s Executive Director.  Joe brings great energy, a proven track record, knowledge, skills, and an understanding of the urgency around environmental issues. Colorado Rising is committed to protecting communities from being exposed to explosive and toxic chemicals, and to stop industrial oil and gas activities from infiltrating our neighborhoods. Joe is the right person to lead that charge,” said Colorado Rising President Tricia Olson.

In 2019, Colorado Rising will start a new chapter in its organizational development by litigating cases against bad government actors and abusive oil and gas companies that harm the health, safety, and welfare of the public and the environment. Colorado Rising will continue its focus on public policy development and direct action in order to support Colorado communities adversely affected by the fossil fuel industry. Colorado Rising has previously announced that it will run another ballot initiative in 2020 if policymakers fail to adequately protect Colorado communities and the environment from the fossil fuel industry.

The organization has announced its first direct action of 2019. The group will gather at the Colorado State Capitol from 7:30-8:30 am on Friday, January 4th, the Opening Day of the legislative session, to demand a moratorium on new drilling until a state-sponsored health assessment is completed and new rule-making based on findings are enacted.

“It is undeniable that human activity, particularly activity from the fossil fuel industry, has adversely affected our climate. It also is undeniable that we are obligated to take bold and progressive action to mitigate the damage we have caused. As demonstrated this last election cycle, Colorado Rising was at the forefront of action to protect our communities and our environment,” said Salazar.

“I am so damn proud to have been asked to lead this organization. I promise the fossil fuel industry and policymakers that while we remain committed to working with them to develop policies that protect communities and our environment, we will not hesitate to take on bad industry actors, government agencies, or elected officials who continue to ignore the health, safety, and welfare of our beautiful state,” said Salazar.

The Colorado Rising Team, consisting of Joe, Suzanne and Anne Lee, are available for in-studio and on-camera interviews. Please contact Anne Lee at 757-870-5102 or anneleefoster@gmail.com to schedule.

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 21, 2018

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

COLORADO RISING COMMENTS ON SCHOOL SETBACK RULEMAKING AT COGCC

DENVER – On Tuesday of this week, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission voted to approve a rule change to setbacks near school buildings. The new rule requires 1,000-foot setbacks from the boundary of school property, including childcare centers. Previous setback rules required oil & gas facilities be located 1,000 feet from school buildings, and did not include childcare centers.

Important to note in the rulemaking is the variances allowed by regulators including:

  1. The school’s governing body may consult with the oil & gas company and agree to allow a closer setback, which would then require COGCC approval.

  2. A company can request a hearing to waive the setback if that distance is “technically infeasible or economically impracticable.”

See the full rulemaking here, and the full list of variances in 604 a article (6).

Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising said about the rulemaking “This new rule follows a pattern of the COGCC putting oil and gas profits above the health and safety of our children. Additionally, it is completely arbitrary and has no scientific basis for increased safety, in fact in the last two months we have had two fires at fracking sites with evacuation radiuses 2-4x this setback. This is simply another example of a rubber stamp agency paving the way for corporate profits, instead of protecting public health”

Anne Lee Foster also said “We find it peculiar that the industry is touting this as an ‘epic collaboration,’ considering it has taken over three years for this rulemaking to come to fruition at the COGCC, and in that time the industry has fought this exact same bill at the legislature with the full force of their lobbyists fleet. The community expects science to be including in any collaboration and that has clearly and definitively been left out of this process.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect public health & safety from dangerous oil & gas operations.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 13, 2018

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

***PRESS RELEASE***

COLORADO RISING FORMS 2020 BALLOT INITIATIVE EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE

DENVER – Colorado Rising, the organization behind the Proposition 112 effort, announced today that they are forming an exploratory committee to begin the process of running a ballot initiative in the 2020 election cycle. The exact form the initiative will take is still unknown, but the group plans to place another initiative on the 2020 ballot to address the dangers of oil and gas extraction if state leaders fail to take effective action to protect residents from neighborhood drilling.

In the 2018 election cycle the group was able to garner over 1.1 million votes for increased setbacks for new oil and gas development, despite being outspent over 40 to 1 by the fossil fuel industry.

Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising said “We don’t expect the efforts at the legislature to fully address the concerns of Coloradans when it comes to dangerous oil and gas near our homes and its overall impact on our quality of life, so we will now begin the process of running another initiative to keep the pressure on and ensure our communities get the protections they deserve.”

The group is also calling for a moratorium on permitting and approval to allow time for the new legislative session to create laws based on peer-reviewed health impact studies. The full list of demands is outlined in this petition. In October and November alone, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has approved 1,424 new drilling permits and has 6,598 drilling permits pending approval.

Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising said “In light of the recent onslaught of permits by the industry and the over 1.1 million Coloradans that support oil and gas reform, we implore Governor Polis to put a moratorium on permitting in place to allow for new protections to be made, based on peer-review science, to address the concerns of impacted communities.”

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Colorado Rising is powering the grassroots movement to protect Colorado communities from dangerous oil and gas development.

To learn more, please go to www.corising.org

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.

###
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:

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]

###


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.”

###
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.

###

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.

###


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.


###
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

DENVER – 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.”

###


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

DENVER – 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 – 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 – 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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