Town of Greeley Approves 18 Oil & Gas Wells Near School via CBS 4:
From Linda F. ~
“As a resident of Erie, I am very concerned about the oil and gas development that is occurring very near to our homes and schools. I frequently attend the Erie Board of Trustee meetings and speak out about the issue. I attended a meeting on June 11th of this year, several residents spoke about their concerns regarding oil and gas development. It’s important to address your local officials and voice your concerns, it’s equally important to voice our concerns to the Governor as well. Apparently one of Erie’s local elected officials also thinks it’s important for us to address our Governor! Trustee Gruber advised citizens to call Governor Hickenlooper at 3:02:57 in this record.”
You heard it moms! Let’s voice our concerns and hopes for the future to the Governor – add your name to our mom letter here!
I wanted to update everyone on our efforts to meet with Governor Hickenlooper to deliver the first round of signatures on our letter to him. We did receive a response on behalf of the Governor- they were very nice but tried to hand us off to the CO Dept of Public Health. We responded (see response below) that many of our moms have already had the opportunity to speak with the Dept. of Health and Environment, and while we appreciate their role, we know that ultimately Governor Hickenlooper is the decision maker on this issue.
We have requested again to meet with the Governor this summer to deliver our letter and chat. We will keep you posted on how things unfold.
Dear Jenna and Valerie – (Governor Hickenlooper’s scheduling staff)
On behalf of Colorado Moms Know Best, thank you very much for getting back to us regarding our request to meet with the governor, we really appreciate it.
As you are probably aware, many of our moms have already had the opportunity to speak with the Dept. of Health and Environment, and while we appreciate their role, we know that ultimately Governor Hickenlooper is the decision maker on this issue. We completely understand that he is quite busy, but given the importance of this issue, we would very much like to meet with him in person (it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes) to chat.
Please let us know, when and where and we will be there. Looking forward to it.
Thank you so very much,
Jaime Travis, Head Mom
Colorado Moms Know Best
An OZONE Alert was issued on Colorado’s Front Range this week!
Those with sensitive conditions, young children and the elderly should be aware and may want to limit outdoor activities. Learn more about the summer ozone program.
Colorado’s current drought and terrible wildfires are all acerbated by climate change and are not only tragic on a human level, but also on an environmental one, by adding to our already compromised ground level ozone pollution. But, did you know that in addition to emissions from power plants and automobiles, air emissions from oil and gas operations contribute greatly to ground level ozone pollution and to our Brown Cloud?
Learn more about the wildlfire relief efforts and how you can help at: www.ColoradoRedCross.org.
Join other concerned Moms across Colorado and take action right now, please sign our letter to the Governor, get educated and join us!
Colorado Moms Know Best supporters were also featured recently on Denver’s CBS 4 News.
Meet Liz X., Mother of 3, living in Weld County:
After 10 years of marriage and 3 boys, my husband and I were finally able to purchase our first home last summer in Mead, Colorado. It is everything we wanted – lots of room, a huge backyard, and a park down the street. We have great neighbors, and the boys love their schools and have made lots of friends. We back up to farmland and have an excellent view of the mountains.
But after only about 5 months of living here, I started noticing how many oil wells surround us, and how many more are being drilled almost constantly. My sister in Erie told me about the issues she was starting to find out about fracking there, and that she found out a well was fracked last summer just 350 feet from her 6 year old son’s school playground. Not too long after that, I noticed a posting in the farmer’s field behind my house stating it was a future well site. I found out from a neighbor that everyone in my HOA was being sent leases to sign giving Encana permission to drill under our homes. A meeting had been held with an Encana representative who was extremely unprofessional and almost threatening about signing the leases as quickly as possible. He told everyone if they sign the leases they would receive royalties and be released from any future liability. But if we refuse to sign, the State of Colorado has given them the ability to “force pool” all of the affected mineral rights owners as long as a certain percentage of signed leases are returned (based on land size) – whether we like it or not. Not only can (and probably, WILL) we be forced into this, but in that case we could not only possibly be held financially responsible to pay for any problems that could arise, but we have to pay to maintain the well, and to shut it down when it stops producing in the future. We would receive a reduced percentage of royalties.
We still hadn’t received our lease so I didn’t know about the initial meeting until a few weeks later. Apparently they are going to drill 8 wells in the field directly behind us – with the farmer’s permission – and will drill horizontally under all of our homes for miles, possibly into the main part of the town itself. The potential impact of this is huge. To start, they come out and do seismic testing of the area (which they’ve already begun), essentially shaking the earth with these special trucks to see where the best location is to drill – this testing has been proven to cause structural damage to homes, as well as set off small earthquakes. Then they start the drilling which is extremely loud and goes on 24 hours a day with bright lights set up. The chemicals they force into the ground and the shale beneath our homes with extreme force using water are toxic. The THOUSANDS of trucks needed to carry the water and chemicals to the site will run 24 hours a day – polluting the air, and ruining the roads. The fracking process has also been proven to set off earthquakes, cause structural damage, and weaken the ground under our homes. Home values plummet with wells so visibly close. And once the wells are fracked and operating, they will be venting gas and potentially hazardous chemicals indefinitely.
Out of fear for my family’s health I helped create a group with some of my neighbors to try to fight against these wells being drilled. While we have received a lot of support from others in Mead, there are also quite a few who are very upset with us for delaying this process. I live in Weld County – these wells are literally everywhere. Quite a few of my neighbors work for oil & gas companies, and I’ve lost friends over this. While out one day with my 4 year old handing out fliers about a town meeting to discuss these wells, a man chased me down in his car and screamed at me for daring to stand in the way of their livelihood. He was very large and threatening, and came back two more times to yell some more – and he watched when I went into my home. A couple of weeks later while in a meeting with the Mead Town Manager, he told us he has actually received somewhat constant threatening phone calls from a couple of residents against us – including a man who has said he owns “lots of guns, and isn’t afraid to use them”.
To make matters much, much worse – while this was going on Encana came in and set up a well site 350 FEET from my son’s elementary school. The 350 feet does not count the playground that’s in between the school building and wells. The middle school where my 13 year old attends is right next to the elementary school. We don’t even know how many wells they’re fracking at this site, but the temporary fence they’ve put up around it is so large it’s now known as the “Great Wall” around town. I’ve spoken with teachers and school administrators who tell us they are just as furious that this is going on, and that they are afraid for their health – but that they are not allowed to speak on record as school employees about it. I got a call one day from a my 10 year old’s teacher saying my son had such a horrible bloody nose in class they had to send him to the nurse because they couldn’t stop it. When I said something about that being one of the documented effects of fracking – she told me that since they’ve been fracking the wells by the school, most of the kids come back in from recess complaining of headaches and generally not feeling well, and that there are a number of bloody noses in class every day. Teachers and school administrators both had told us they would attend our meetings and sign our petitions – but none have yet followed through, and we’re afraid that the school district is blocking them from speaking out. (They have a history of this).
I have had chronic asthma since I was a kid. All three of my boys have asthma. One of my neighbors is on kidney dialysis; and another has a 5 year old with a congenital heart defect. In 8 short months this has gone from our dream home and place to raise our boys, to a living nightmare. We are regular people trying to live regular lives, and now we’re being forced to live right next to these wells 24/7. We don’t get to leave after our shift like the Encana workers do, we don’t wear personal protective gear in our backyards, and we don’t get a fair voice in what’s being done to us. Why on earth does it need to be done so close to homes and schools?? The lawyers we’ve spoken to tell us we don’t have a real hope of stopping the drilling – all we can fight for is better lease terms including larger distances from our homes, or better royalties. We can hope for a small moratorium. We are up against a multi-BILLION dollar industry with loopholes and politicians in their pockets. It is so very disheartening to realize how the health and future of your babies comes second to someone else’s profit. We will never win this fight – or even make a dent – unless we all start banding together and demanding the truth, and protection of our elected officials. If you can get in front of this where you live – do it, because once they pull the permits it’s too late.
~ Liz X.
Exciting news! CMKB submitted our formal request this week for a late June meeting with Governor Hickenlooper to hand-deliver our letter. The letter asks him to work with us to dramatically reduce lung-damaging ozone pollution and dangerous climate change emissions coming from oil and gas operations to protect our kids’ health and future.
Can’t wait to meet with him – and given we’re such a cool, smart group of moms, we imagine he feels exactly the same way!
Please join us if you haven’t already, sign on to the letter, share the information with your mom friends and if you want to get more involved, drop me a line.
~ Head Mom of Colorado Moms Know Best
Thurs., May 30, 2013
Contact: Jenny Davies-Schley, 720-296-9545
Moms Launch “Colorado Moms Know Best” to Protect Colorado Kids & Lifestyle
Will educate, engage and empower moms to advocate for clean air and outdoors
DENVER – A new grassroots network called Colorado Moms Know Best has formed to educate, engage and empower moms who love Colorado and the outdoor lifestyle it allows their families to live. Their first issue focuses on air pollution that is harming the health of Colorado children.
“Colorado Moms Know Best hopes to be an education resource and activity outlet for moms who care about the outdoors, land and water conservation, clean air and protecting child and community health,” said Jaime Travis, Colorado Moms Know Best coordinator. “We will make the case for the mom side of the story on clean air – and we can always tell policy-makers, ‘Because I said so!’”
After being shocked that most Front Range counties received D’s and F’s on the recent American Lung Association State of the Air report card on air pollution, the moms decided their first campaign would focus on advocating for clean air rules to protect Colorado children’s health.
Oil and gas development is growing in Colorado – since 2000, statewide drilling for oil and gas has more than doubled and drilling has nearly tripled in the Front Range. With that development we’re seeing an increase in smog-inducing air pollution around oil and gas sites –many close to our neighborhoods, schools and playgrounds – that emit noxious chemicals that worsen and even cause asthma, gastrointestinal problems and other illnesses. Already 1 out of 10 children have asthma in Colorado, an even higher rate than in adults because their lungs are still developing.
“Living among oil and gas operations in Erie, I know firsthand the fear you experience when you are left wondering how the toxic chemicals might be harming your kids,” said Andrea Roy, a member of Colorado Moms Know Best and Erie Rising. “We will ask the Air Quality Control Commission and the Governor to dramatically reduce lung-damaging ozone pollution and dangerous climate change emissions coming from oil and gas operations to protect the health of our growing families.”
The moms are calling for common sense yet innovative standards that require the oil and gas industry to:
- Detect and repair drilling leaks
- Stop natural gas venting
- Use capture technologies on storage tanks
- Disclose chemical emissions
While much of Colorado Moms Know Best’s activity will be online at their website and through social media, the group occasionally will bring moms together for special events. For more information, please visit http://coloradomomsknowbest.com.
Colorado Moms Know Best is a casual network of moms and friends that are looking out for our children’s health and wellbeing by protecting Colorado’s outdoors and quality of life.
Meet Andrea R., Mother of 2, living in Boulder County:
When I first moved to Erie I had no idea that I was moving to the middle of an oil field. I saw the condensate tanks and I really had no idea that they were related to oil and gas development. That is until I received an email from my neighbor about fracking site about 600 yards from my children’s’ school. I had not previously heard of hydraulic fracturing so I looked into it. What I found disturbed me; fresh water permanently taken from the Earths hydrologic cycle, laced with toxic, cancer causing chemicals; being injected into the ground. Not to mention the toxic wastewater that is produced and the pollution inducing emissions that leak from the tanks and pipes. I was appalled that this type of heavy industrial activity would be occurring a mere few hundred feet from people’s homes, schools and parks.
The Oil and Gas Industry are a major contributing factor to the diminished air quality along the Front Range. They are responsible for 30% of all methane emissions and in turn are responsible for the increase of lung damaging ozone along the Front Range. The industry needs to be held accountable for polluting our air and they need to institute some common sense measures to cut down on smog inducing pollution.
~ Andrea R.