Calls Mount to Ban Fracking in Boulder County

On Tuesday morning, a group of anti-fracking organizations, including local high school students from Niwot and members of 350Colorado.org, gathered ahead of a Boulder County Commissioner meeting to call on the county to ban fracking.  The group is submitting a petition with more than 1,000 signatures from residents of Boulder County, calling for the commissioners to ban fracking.

Listen to the story below:

Deborah McNamara with 350Colorado.org says that the renewed calls for a fracking ban in Boulder County come in the wake of SB 19-181.

Boulder County currently has a moratorium on fracking that is set to expire in March 2020. McNamara says with that expiration on the horizon, they want to see the county take action. “We want it to be on the county commissioner’s radar that we would like the strongest protections possible after the moratorium expires.”

Deborah McNamara (Left), Miya Beauvineau (Right)

McNamara sees SB-181 as just the beginning in enacting tougher regulations on fracking in the state. “I think ideally what we would love to have seen and what we still would love to see is a true pause on permitting so that we can be sure that the law is being followed and upheld, so our concern is that because there never was that pause and the permits are continuing to be issued at quite I think an alarming rate, over 2.000 permits have been issued under the Polis administration…so one of the things I would like to see is a closer look at what the law is actually asking decision makers to do, particularly the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.”

Several students from Niwot High were in attendance and many spoke about the need to stop development of 140 new wells in Boulder County proposed by Crestone Peak Resources.

Sophia Chivers, a senior at Niwot High, said that Crestone project has brought home the reality of fracking as it is so close to her home and her school. “The size of the project and the adverse impacts of the project are I’m sure much further reaching than we can possibly imagine because we don’t have proper information to understand how far these things go, and I just think that it’s absurd to think that such a beautiful part of land would end up having that fate.”

Chivers has testified in front of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and has been involved in local climate strikes. Miya Beauvineau, a Junior at Niwot High and co-leader of the school’s environmental club, has also been involved in organizing local climate strikes. “All of us are basically just asking for our futures out of fear honestly, I think that’s a huge factor for a  lot of young people today.”

Miya Beauvineau (Left), Sophia Chivers (Right)

Today’s event came on the same day that Colorado Rising announced they would be seeking to have 6 measures placed on the November 2020 ballot around oil and gas regulation. Five of the six measures are similar to the groups failed Proposition 112 and the sixth measure would require oil and gas companies to post a far more expensive bond for new wells with the money going to help the state manage so-called “orphan wells” that the industry leaves behind.