Greeley parents protest location of well near Bella Romero Academy

GREELEY, Colo. -- Controversy continues to brew over the placement of an oil and gas drill near the Bella Romero Academy campus in Greeley.

A group of parents and activists held a rally on Friday saying a nearby 24 well pad project presents a potential safety risk to students.

They are concerned about the effects of any explosion or chemical leak.

UNC Earth Guardians founder Megan Meyer tells FOX31, “The bricks in the building are protected but the children are not when they're outside.”

The protesters want the well moved farther away from the school.

The Extraction Oil and Gas company tells FOX31 the project meets all government safety requirements and the vetting site is “located approximately 1,350 feet away from the nearest school and outside 1,250 feet from the nearest playground.”

Their statement goes on to say, “... even so, Extraction Oil & Gas plans to utilize many of the innovative technologies we have introduced to our industry that ensure the minimization or elimination of impacts from construction and development, as well as increasing safety. These measures include the use of a noise-minimizing electric drilling rig, engineered sound walls, quiet completions technology, and oil and gas pipelines that significantly minimize truck traffic, among other industry-leading mitigation measures.”

Scroll down to read the entire statement from Extraction Oil & Gas below.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers reached out to Greeley's school district and learned the Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution in January opposing the location of the vetting wells near the Bella Romero Academy 5-8 campus, citing safety concerns.

The district issued a statement to FOX31 explaining, “The primary concerns cited were security that will limit student access to the site, emissions from the site and/or an accident or other issue at the site that would necessitate the evacuation of the school.  District 6 officials are planning to conduct a meeting with parents later this spring to discuss the revised safety plan for the building that was developed after the Vetting Site was approved. Officials from Extraction are working with District 6 to address safety concerns.”

While communication lines are open between the company and the district, parents, like Megan Meyer say their message to oil and gas companies must be heard as well. “As a mother I would appreciate it if you would put the health and safety of children at Bella Romero before profit.”

Full statement from Extraction Oil and Gas:

“We began construction of the access road and well pad for our Vetting location in early February and we have taken measures to ensure the proper routing of all vehicle traffic and construction activities away from the school and neighbors.

Our Vetting site is located approximately 1,350 feet away from the nearest school and outside 1,250 feet from the nearest playground. Even so, Extraction Oil & Gas plans to utilize many of the innovative technologies we have introduced to our industry that ensure the minimization or elimination of impacts from construction and development, as well as increasing safety. These measures include the use of a noise-minimizing electric drilling rig, engineered sound walls, quiet completions technology, and oil and gas pipelines that significantly minimize truck traffic, among other industry-leading mitigation measures.

We engaged in both an inclusive and very comprehensive process to obtain permits for our Vetting site, and that process was completed in compliance with all local government and COGCC regulatory guidelines. Throughout this process, we have met with school district officials numerous times during the last two years.

Today, our company continues to engage in discussions with school and school district officials to identify additional measures that ensure the safety of all our neighbors. Though these permits have already been approved, we will continue working in partnership with the school district for the benefit of the school and our community.”

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