Colorado Oil and Gas Roundup
By Karen Dike
RMC Beyond Oil and Gas Team
Front Range cities seek protection from fracking impacts
Greeley: On Tuesday, September 3rd, the Greeley City Council heard an appeal and voted to uphold its decision to allow a massive expansion of a drilling site within city limits. The site near Northridge High School will be expanded to add 18 wells, 26 oil and water tanks and 12 separators.
Greeley citizens have engaged in a dialogue with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Governor Hickenlooper’s office, asking them to deny a permit for the site expansion or at least reduce the number of wells to be permitted. About 20 people spoke at the city council hearing, expressing their concerns about toxic and ozone-inducing air pollution and water contamination threatening public health and the environment. To express your feelings to the Governor about the transformation of this site into a large industrial complex near the school, a high-density neighborhood, and the Sheep Draw waterway and bike path, please use this ALERT.
Broomfield: Despite the successful citizen petition drive to place a five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for oil and gas on the city ballot this fall, the Broomfield City Council voted to approve an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would permit fracking to take place within city limits before the November vote. This MOU is for 21 wells on 4 sites. The council had also initially approved ballot title language that failed to fairly represent the moratorium measure to voters, triggering a lawsuit by Our Broomfield, the local group sponsoring the proposal. Following a lengthy meeting with a mediator, the ballot title language was changed to reflect the intent of the ballot measure.
Loveland: Following action taken late Tuesday night by the Loveland City Council, it is highly unlikely that Loveland voters will decide in November whether or not to enact a moratorium on fracking within the city. Protect Our Loveland turned in petitions with nearly 3,000 signatures to get the 2 year moratorium on the November Ballot. A late appeal by a resident to Larimer County District Court regarding the sufficiency of the petitions submitted by Protect Our Loveland resulted in a close decision by the City Council to await the decision on that appeal before proceeding. Appeals can also be taken to higher courts. The vote on a fracking moratorium within the city limits may be delayed and result in a special election.
Good news from Boulder! The Boulder County Commissioners approved funding for an air quality study to be completed by the Boulder County Health Department. This study will measure the presence of volatile organic compounds found in the county's air, as well as assess cost-effective monitoring techniques, officials said. Four sites near existing wells plus a background site will be studied. The study will also test new ways of obtaining measurements that are less expensive and more readily available. The study will take 18 months.
Coming actions needed:
Colorado Air Quality Control Commission: Be on the watch for action from this commission. Their September meeting is cancelled; they will be meeting in October. According to the EPA, Colorado is violating federal air pollution standards in nine counties. Oil and gas activity is known to be a major contributor to this pollution. With over 51,000 wells in production, and 2000 being added each year, this pollution source will intensify. New Colorado emissions-control regulations are expected in early 2014.
Elections: A reminder that this election season will require an all-out effort to protect our people, our air and our water from toxic pollution and the negative effects of drilling within populated areas, including Broomfield, Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins and Lafayette. Watch for more information prior to the November elections.
Join us: If you have further questions about these efforts or would like to be on our Beyond Oil & Gas Team activist list, please email our RMC Beyond Oil and Gas Team Chair, Lauren Swain, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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