Letter: Not protecting kids
I am disappointed with the Garfield County commissioners and their position to oppose House Bill 1256. This bill [since defeated] would have helped protect Colorado school kids from the harmful effects of oil and gas operations when the child is in schoolyards, athletic fields, parking lots and modular classrooms. The current rule states that large scale oil and gas facilities should be located 1,000 feet away from a school building, not the property line. A child in a schoolyard who is only 500 feet from a drilling or petroleum production operation is much more likely to be harmed by air pollution, noise or even a fire than a child who is 1,000 feet away.
The commissioners say they would like the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to have authority on this issue, but they are forgetting that the COGCC discussed this particular problem at length as part of the Governor’s Task Force in 2014 and then as part of the rulemaking on recommendations from the task force. In both cases, the COGCC failed to act, even though it recognized the problem. Instead, commissioners recently permitted a new oil and gas facility only 315 feet from a Greeley school soccer field.
A vote against House Bill 1256 was a vote against the basic health and safety of Colorado’s school kids. We need decision makers who understand this and will act on behalf of communities dealing with oil and gas development in residential areas.
Larry and Carol Forman