Greeley resident: State has ‘credibility problem’ on regulating drilling

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GREELEY, Colo. -- Concerned parents and homeowners bombarded the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission during a two-hour public hearing about a revamped proposal to drill near a local school, another flashpoint in Colorado's ongoing fracking fight and a microcosm of the still unsettled question of how much rights should be afforded to local communities concerned about oil and gas development.

The commission is currently considering a second proposal from Mineral Corporation to drill 19 wells 1,500 feet away from Frontier Elementary; it approved the company's initial plan to drill 67 wells within just 350 feet of the school, although Mineral Corporation backed away from that proposal after an outcry from concerned parents and local environmental groups.

"The COGCC is tasked to protect the public health safety and welfare of the people of Colorado," Sara Barwinski, a member of the group Weld Air and Water, testified Monday. "I think it’s fair to say that the COGCC has a major credibility problem.

"Until you actually stand up and say 'no' to such outrageous plans the public rightly perceives that the tail is wagging the dog — and it is industry and industry alone that chooses where to drill. We are asking for leadership from COGCC and especially from the Governor to restore balance and sanity into decision-making about oil and gas locations."

Angela Kirkpatrick, whose daughter is a fourth grader at Frontier Elementary, is worried that the current plan of setting the wells back 1,500 feet from the school's playground still isn't far enough given the risk of explosions and blow-outs.

"It scares me to death," she said. "I can't imagine anyone being so irresponsible to put children on the playground at that great of risk."

The state, which will likely rule on the proposal within the next month or two, said it must balance the concerns expressed by homeowners and parents with the mineral rights of oil and gas companies.

"We will never find that perfect balance, but we always strive to get as close to it as possible," said Tom Compton, the COGCC chairman.

Earlier this year, Gov. John Hickenlooper got the industry and environmentalists to agree on new air quality rules that make Colorado the first state in the country to regulate methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas.

"This administration has repeatedly adopted rules that are among the toughest in the nation, from chemical disclosure to groundwater protections to expanded setbacks and most recently rules to tightly limit methane emissions," said Mike King, executive director of the Colorado Dept. of Natural Resources.

"Engaged citizens in Greeley have participated in all of those processes, and we look forward to ongoing work with them as we continue regulating this important industry."




  • Anonymous

    Oil and Gas companies are driven by Greed for maximum profits. They don’t even care about endangering kids on a nearby playground if there is a big financial payoff for them, because they are blind to hurting people and money is all they can see. These Fracking Idiots need to be controlled. Show up and vote for in November for Polis’s fracking control initiatives to slow these addicts down.

    • ColoradoCommish

      Pretty gutsy stuff “Anonymous”….You forgot to mention that “Our cows will start on fire too!”
      Just wondering… how much of this cerebral and pithy comment did you actually research? Can you actually cite a credible source for any of your baseless accusations / hallucinations?

      • Anonymous

        For starters, I urge Everyone to watch the documentary called Gasland. It reveals the effects of out of control fracking and the results it’s creating in our state and others. I personally know the son of the Wyoming rancher also in the film. Obviously you don’t live on land and drink water with fracking operations contaminating it, but probably earn your living by fracking and thus contributing to the problems this is creating for other people. I sympathize with you.

      • James Brotherton

        Anonymous, are you really trying to use Gasland as a resource for information? That farce was debunked within a year of it coming out. I see how quickly you’ve resorted to “probably earn your living by fracking” and the poorly crafted tobacco analogy tactics. Those are two signs of a very weak argument.

Comments are closed.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.