April 30, 2018 – 350 Colorado Testimony to the COGCC

 

My name is Micah Parkin. I’m speaking today as a mother and as Executive Director of 350 Colorado. We represent 14,000 members in Colorado who are calling for a safe, just and healthy future for our children and future generations.

 

I participated in a fracking tour that our 350 team organized this past Sat. in Weld County and in just a 2 hour tour, the emissions made me so horribly dizzy and ill I had to go home and sleep for 3 hours and felt horrible the rest of the day. No one should have to live near these toxic sites. I encourage you to go on our next tour and see for yourselves.

 

We are disappointed that with the new leadership of director Julie Murphy, the COGCC has still not dropped the appeal of the Martinez court decision that directed the COGCC to prioritize public health and safety as a precondition to permitting oil and gas development. Regardless, this decision is the current standing rule of law, it should be treated as such.

 

Once again, we demand that the COGCC place a moratorium on further permitting until independent studies can prove that the COGCC is using best available science to regulate the oil and gas industry in a manner truly protective of public health and safety and until it is properly funded to do so.

 

Public health studies show increased cancer and other serious health effects to those living within a ½ mile from oil and gas development, and yet the COGCC has continued to approve wells only 500’ from homes, 1000’ from schools and right by school playgrounds and ballfields.

 

The COGCC is currently out of line with current law, out of line with the public health studies, out of line with climate science that indicates that we should not be fostering ANY additional fossil fuel development with our planet overheating, and the COGCC is out of line with public opinion. In a recent poll, 69% of voters statewide and across the political spectrum support increasing setbacks between oil and gas development and homes, schools, playgrounds and water sources to 2500’, which aligns with health studies showing increased cancer, asthma, birth defects and low birth weight babies at closer distances.

 

2500’ – nearly a half-mile, is also the distance that is frequently evacuated when there are fires and explosions at oil and gas sites. There have been 15 such fires and explosions since the Firestone explosion that killed 2 men, severely burned a woman and teacher, and injured a child.

 

It has been and continues to be the responsibility of this body to protect public health, safety, and welfare, but it continues to fail the people of Colorado. So Colorado is rising up to protect ourselves. We encourage everyone listening to go to www.corising.org to find out where to go to sign the Colorado Rising ballot initiative petitions for 2500’ safety zones and to volunteer to collect signatures so that we can take this before voters this Nov.

 

Commissioners, regardless of politics, you have an ethical responsibility to protect the health and safety of your fellow Coloradans above promotion of 1 irresponsible fossil industry. Drop the appeal of the Martinez decision. Put health and safety 1st, as the courts have told you to. Enact an emergency moratorium now!

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