State regulation: protecting school children as well as buildings
In the 2017 legislative session, WCC strongly supported House Bill 1256 which would have closed a glaring loophole in state regulations regarding the distance required between oil and gas operations and our school-age children.
Bizarrely, current regulations say that the minimum distance for new oil and gas facilities is 1,000 ft. from schools (the “setback”), but in practice this means that the measurement starts from the building itself and not the property line. Sports fields, playgrounds and even modular classrooms — and the children in them — aren’t covered.
On March 29, HB 1256 passed out of the Colorado House. However, on April 12 a 6-5 vote along party lines in the Senate’s Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee killed the bill.
WCC and the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance are deeply disappointed by the Senate committee’s vote. On behalf of concerned parents in Parachute and western Colorado, we will continue to work towards closing this loophole in the regulations and the full protection of our kids’ health and safety.
Help us send a big THANK YOU to all the West Slope representatives who voted to support this simple bill which will move oil and gas facilities further away from school grounds:
Rep. KC Becker (D-13)
Rep. Millie Hamner (D-61)
Rep. Barbara McLachlan (D-59)
Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush (D-26)
Rep. Donald Valdez (D-62)
Recent media coverage of HB 1256 and our work on it:
- “HB1256: A New School Perimeter for Oil and Gas Facilities”, Grand Junction Channel 5, March 21, 2017
- “Proposed bill asks oil and gas facilities to back up from schools”, Grand Junction Channel 11, March 21, 2017
- “Activists Criticize Well Pad Location; Industry Calls Tour a Stunt” – Glenwood Post Independent, March 21, 2017
- “Supporters of Bill Want Drilling Further From Schools” – Grand Junction Sentinel, March 23, 2017
- “Garfield Commissioners Oppose School Setback” – Glenwood Post Independent, April 3, 2017
- “School setback rule rejected by Senate committee”, – Glenwood Post Independent, April 12, 2017
WCC has worked for decades to improve the state rules and laws that govern oil and gas development, and will continue to do so. From engaging in Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rule-makings to working with our elected officials at the legislature, we use every tool in the tool box to protect human and environmental health in the shadow of oil and gas development across the state.
Contact WCC Organizer Emily Hornback at (970) 256-7650 or emily(at)wccongress.org for more information or to get involved.