Denver, CO — On Monday, August 8th, a coalition of anti-fracking advocates called “Yes for Health and Safety over Fracking” submitted more than 100,000 signatures to place two initiatives addressing fracking regulations on the state ballot. Initiatives #75 and #78 would grant local government control over new oil and gas infrastructure projects in Colorado, and require mandatory setbacks of 2,500 feet from homes, schools and other sensitive areas for new oil and gas extraction on the basis of health and safety. In May, Colorado’s Supreme Court overturned several local government prohibitions on fracking, ruling that they infringed upon the state government’s control over oil and gas extraction.
“These ballot initiatives are part of a grassroots effort by Coloradans to protect the health and safety of our communities — and our climate — from fracking and the fossil fuel industry,” said Michaela Mujica-Steiner, Colorado Statewide Organizer at 350 Action. “The oil industry is spending millions of dollars to defeat us, but we’re building power in a climate movement that will continue fighting against the devastating impacts of fossil fuel projects into November and long after.”
A coalition of activists worked throughout the state to collect signatures before the August 8th deadline. Fossil fuel companies, including Anadarko Petroleum Corp and Noble Energy Inc, gave millions of dollars in the past month to a group behind the “Decline to Sign” campaign that attempted to discourage Coloradans from supporting the initiatives. Now, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office has 30 days to verify the submitted signatures in order for the initiatives to qualify for the ballot.
“Fracking is a danger not only to the health of communities living near fracking wells, but to our climate as well,” said Sara Shor, spokesperson for 350 Action. “The release of methane — a highly potent greenhouse gas — through fracking makes it one of the most dangerous fossil fuel extraction practices and a major contributor to climate change. One thing is certain: no amount of regulation can make fracking safe. Environmental groups and communities directly impacted by extreme extraction know that the only way to protect people and our climate is to keep fracked gas in the ground.”
Recent studies have linked fracking with negative impacts on the health of nearby residents. New research from John Hopkins University found that people who live near fracking wells may be up to four times as likely to have an asthma attack compared to people living further away. Last year, Physicians for Social Responsibility co-released a compendium report concluding that there is “no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health.”
Contact: Dani Heffernan, 350 Action, (305) 992-1544
Michaela Mujica-Steiner is available for media requests.