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Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force Fails To Protect Families and Communities from Fracking
Last November, WildEarth Guardians issued a “Test for Success” report, identifying four key measures that could and should be adopted by the Task Force. These included:
1) A right to know what chemicals are being used in Colorado communities and a right to be informed when drilling and fracking may occur in communities;
2) Safety triggers to shut down operations when pollution standards are exceeded;
3) A ban on oil and gas bad actors that repeatedly violate state or federal regulations; and
4) Local control for communities to watchdog state agencies and step in when necessary to be able to independently enforce state oil and gas laws.
In recommendations issued this week, the Task Force failed to adopt and recommend any of these measures. The failure prompted WildEarth Guardians to renew its call and support for a statewide fracking ban.
“Governor Hickenlooper’s Task Force has completely failed,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Director at WildEarth Guardians. “Instead of putting Coloradans first, the Governor let oil and gas industry interests quash meaningful protections for our air and water, and worse maintained a culture where fracking is allowed to run roughshod over communities.”
Governor Hickenlooper created the Task Force to thwart statewide ballot initiatives proposed in 2014 that would have empowered local governments to rein in fracking and curtail dangerous oil and gas development in the state. The recommendations of the Task Force, which many members also described as a “failure,” underscore the need for a renewed ballot initiative.
“We put Governor Hickenlooper to a simple and reasonable test, yet he refused to entertain any measure that would get in the way of the oil and gas industry,” said Nichols. “It’s clear that when it comes to fracking, the Governor is not open to compromise, meaning the only recourse Coloradans have is to defend their right to a clean, healthy environment at the ballot box.”