Current Research & Background

Fracking is a heavy industrial process whereby millions of barrels of water are mixed with hundreds of undisclosed and often toxic chemicals and then injected into the earth under extremely high pressure to force oil and natural gas (methane) to the surface. Research and on the ground experiences have proven that fracking poses grave risks to public health, clean air and water, and a stable climate. Studies by NOAA and other researchers have shown vast leakage of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – from fracking well-heads. They have documented that about 4% of natural gas production in the Denver-Julesberg Basin is leaking directly into the atmosphere, and found as much as 17% of total methane produced leaking in other regions. This has resulted in some researchers surmising that fracking may be as dangerous to our climate as burning coal—if not more so. A study by the EDF and Princeton University suggests that shifting from coal-fired generators to natural gas only has climate benefits if the cumulative leakage rate is below 3.2%. Emissions, toxic chemical spills, negative effects on human and animal health, water and air contamination, decreasing property values and other deleterious impacts from this industry are well documented.

Click here to read & watch stories about the impacts of fracking from people living the fracking frontlines.

Health impacts:

Water impacts:

Why should any resident be subjected to fracking within sight or breath of businesses, schools or homes, when the danger is so clear and well documented?

State of Affairs

CAF1Until 2019, state regulations have failed to represent the will and best interests of the people. Several years ago, 350 Colorado joined dozens of allied organizations to launch a statewide coalition called Coloradans Against Fracking to put a stop to dirty, dangerous fracking in our state. We are growing the movement to stop fracking in Colorado by educating thousands of Coloradans, holding our elected officials accountable, and pushing back against the oil and gas industry’s plans to place thousands of wells next to homes, schools, public parks and pristine areas in our state. Local communities like Longmont and Ft. Collins passed local bans and moratoria to protect themselves faced lawsuits, but in May of 2016 the CO Supreme Court ruled that the State has preemption over local communities and overturned the bans and moratoria. CAF_Wordpress_Logo1In 2016, people fought for 2 statewide ballot initiatives (75 and 78) to restrict fracking in Colorado by allowing local community control of fracking and increasing setbacks (buffer zones) from wells to homes, schools and waterways to 2500 feet. Industry spent millions of dollars fighting the initiatives, which despite receiving enough signatures to get on the ballot, had too many thrown out by the Secretary of State’s Office and thus failed to make the ballot. Industry was also the primary funder of ballot initiative 71 which made it far more expensive and difficult to pass ballot initiatives in the future. In March of 2017, in the Martinez vs. COGCC decision, the Colorado appeals court said that the state must protect health and environment before allowing oil and gas drilling, siding with Boulder teen Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and other youth plaintiffs, saying the protection of public health and the environment is “a condition that must be fulfilled”. Firestone0035_1492662055117_9259645_ver1.0On May 2, 2017, an Anadarko well which had an open gas line venting gas under a house in Firestone causing it to explode, killing two brothers-in-law and seriously injuring a mother and child. Later that month, after thousands of letters and calls were sent to the COGCC and Governor Hickenlooper from constituents asking them not appeal the Martineze v. COGCC decision, the Governor “rationalized that this position represented no change — public health and safety have always come first, don’t you know — and therefore the state did not need to appeal the ruling. The attorney general said nonsense and filed an appeal over the governor’s objection. Imagine that: a state official arguing against prioritizing public health and safety to continue feeding the insatiable industry that helps to fund her campaigns. So, once more, it is up to the Supreme Court.” (See this op ed for more of the back story.) The time has come for Coloradans to take a stand for the health and safety of our communities. This is our Colorado and we must preserve our right to protect our families, properties and way of life.

Learning Resources:

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