Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED) announced today that it is moving forward with ballot measures aimed at protecting Colorado from the dangers associated with fracking operations. The grassroots organization will challenge the oil and gas industry’s ability to put hazardous industrial development near neighborhoods, schools and waterways.
“The laws in Colorado are not designed to protect Coloradans from intrusive, polluting oil and gas development near their neighborhoods and schools. The growing number of fracking operations sited near homes demonstrates that Colorado’s law and state agencies favor the industry,” says Lauren Swain, one of CREED’s founders.
The state agency claiming to protect Colorado, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), has been charged by current Colorado law to literally “foster” oil and gas development. And although the law also requires that the COGCC foster development “in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources,” the pleas of the public and of environmental groups for wider setbacks, meaningful levels of monitoring, inspection, enforcement and fines have been ignored. Accidents, claims, and complaints are handled poorly, with few consequences when industry violates state rules. “Clearly, the state is favoring a hazardous industry over the health and property of its citizens, with a bias built into state law, so the best recourse is to change the law,“ said Tricia Olson, Executive Director of CREED.
Examples of our state’s bias toward industry are abundant –
Colorado Governor Hickenlooper claims that he drank fracking fluid, and has suggested that communities restricting residential drilling should be required to compensate the industry. In 2013, the Governor’s appointed Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment actually testified against health studies to document the human health impacts of pollution from fracking operations. The Legislature has also failed to address local control conflicts or the need to protect residents from toxic emissions, spills, and explosions. The result is an industry with the dangerous and destructive power to drill almost anywhere they want and pollute the air and water with few repercussions.
The state regularly colludes with the industry to crush protective measures adopted by local governments. The cities of Longmont, Broomfield, Boulder, and Lafayette passed bans and moratoria on fracking, only to find themselves in court fighting the state and the industry to uphold the will of local voters. The Governor’s Task Force was charged with addressing the conflicts between local and state governments but, predictably, it instead developed new industry-biased recommendations that do nothing to protect communities from extreme energy development.
CREED was formed to work for ballot measures that create genuine protection of health, safety, and homes from the toxic industrial processes associated with fracking.
CREED Executive Director Olson added, “We are a grassroots organization working for our families, our neighborhoods, and our beautiful state. We strive to prevent Colorado from becoming a checkerboard of industrial wells and pads, plagued by health impacts to our children, polluted air, spills, explosions, fires, injection well earthquakes and all the other damaging impacts of high-volume fracking.”
For more on complaints: Is the way the state handles oil & gas complaints criminal?
For more information about the testimony of CDPHE Director Dr Chris Urbina: Why Did Hickenlooper and Urbina Kill the Fracking Healthcare Bill?
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