Citizens, let your voice be heard!
City of Boulder
Tuesday, August 6 – City Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway at Canyon St.
ACTION: Please attend the Boulder City Council second reading for the ballot measure for a 5-year moratorium on oil & gas drilling in the City of Boulder and City-owned Open Space. You can sign up to speak beginning at 5:30 PM. We invite you to wear a WHITE top as a sign of solidarity.
If you are not able to speak in person, please write the Council members at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is our final opportunity to give public testimony and comment on the ballot language for the November 2013 election.
We are asking for the moratorium to begin on June, 2014 (when the emergency one-year moratorium ends) through June of 2019.
A five-year moratorium – till 2019 – will allow us to obtain and analyze the results of the National Science Foundation study due in 2018.
We very much appreciate that City Council members are placing a moratorium on oil & gas drilling on the November ballot. We just want to make sure it is for the full five years.
Tuesday, July 16 – Boulder City Council did a “first reading” on the proposed 5-year moratorium on oil & gas drilling on Open Space. Frack Free Boulder testified and pointed out that the emergency moratorium, unanimously approved by City Council on June 4, 2013, runs through June 2014.
However, the proposed ballot language prepared by the City Attorney’s office stated an end date of June 2018. After our testimony, Council acknowledged the discrepancy in the ending date and agreed to return to this issue when public testimony is given at the second reading on Aug. 6.
Front Range Communities Rally to Stop Fracking
The following Colorado communities have worked their tails off and have collected thousands of petition signatures to put a moratorium on any new drilling or fracking in their towns to obtain public safety data first.
Congratulations to citizen groups in Broomfield, Fort Collins, Lafayette and Loveland and Longmont, who started first with a ban. To volunteer, please contact the campaign organizers below.
Citizens for a Health Fort Collins
Kelly Giddens at 970-430-6185 or email@example.com
Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - VICTORY!
9-0 Boulder City Council Voted Unanimously to support a one-year moratorium on fracking! The Council Chambers were packed with overflow citizens wearing white filling the Municipal Building lobby, cheering for speaker after speaker.
The June 4th vote for an emergency moratorium on drilling will help protect our 45,000 acres of Open Space land in Boulder County. (Please see below Boulder County at Risk for Fracking for map showing areas most vulnerable).
While we ask Council members for a ballot measure, let us continue to educate Boulder citizens about fracking and encourage everyone to vote in November.
Ban on City Water for Fracking
Also on June 4th, Council members supported a new precedent-setting ordinance – the first in Colorado – to ban the use or sale of City water for oil and gas drilling. Several Boulder citizens encouraged an additional provision that prohibits purchasers of City water from re-selling the water for fracking. The water ordinance will be heard at a second “consent” reading when it can be voted into law on Tuesday, June 18.
NEW: Very important new development and a direct result of all our efforts.
Tuesday, June 18 at 4:30 pm
Boulder County Courthouse, 1325 Pearl St., 3rd flr., downtown Boulder
The Boulder County Commissioner plan to vote on a new one-year extension of oil and gas drilling in Boulder County. Here’s a link to the Daily Camera article.
Note new email address for contacting the Commissioners: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned for updates.
1) What will happen during the one-year moratorium? Will a new Boulder County Oil & Gas Advisory Group composed of citizens and technical experts be created? The Advisory Group idea was supported by the Planning Commission.
2) Why is the moratorium only one year long? To what study or research results will it be tied? A three-year moratorium till 2016 would make the most sense as the five-year National Science Foundation study will get its first results on health impacts and fracking in 2015 and this would give us time to analyze those results.
3) What is the thinking behind the “phasing plan”?
Central message: Baseline data on water, air and public health must be collected first BEFORE any new drilling happens. To NOT accept new applications to drill wells until the new Boulder County Oil & Gas Advisory Group has been established.
Considerations for a new Oil & Gas Advisory Group:
- Establish a public process to create the Advisory Group. Number of members (e.g. 5-7) and makeup agreed upon with people who bring specific areas of expertise. Members have been identified and accepted their position by mid-August.
- A plan for data gathering, monitoring and inspection has been written and approved for baseline data affecting public health BEFORE any new drilling is allowed.
- Monitoring equipment, techniques, technicians and budget have been identified, established, purchased and set up with an agreed upon protocol for collection and analysis of data.
- Sample baseline data of air and water quality and public health information has been collected over an agreed upon time with approved equipment and technicians.
- Neutral and independent researchers participate in the data collection and analysis.
- Data and findings are readily available 24/7 on a public website and full transparency exists in all aspects of the data gathering and analysis for the phasing plan.
- The healthcare, medical research and public health community are actively involved in guiding the phasing plan and the collection of baseline data and analysis.
- Industry provides the contents of the fracking fluid for any proposed well allowing the public health community sufficient time to analyze its contents and establish an emergency management plan with the poison control center and the Boulder County Public Health Dept.
- Industry has an opportunity to review findings so appropriate steps can be put in place to protect the public safety.
Suffice to say, there is a lot to be set up and approved BEFORE any drilling permits can be accepted in Boulder County.
Boulder Open Space at Risk of Fracking
Click for map of Boulder County Open Space (map courtesy of the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Dept., updated 5/30/2013) showing properties vulnerable to fracking.
According to the City of Boulder’s Open Space Department, there are 107 drilled wells on approximately 6,000 acres of Open Space in unincorporated Boulder County where the City does not own the mineral rights and/or the leasing rights. These lands are at risk of being drilled with the toxic chemicals used in high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
The Open Space Dept. has researched the mineral and leasing rights on approximately 11,000 acres or 38% of its land. Research has not been done on 62% of the Open Space where the mineral rights ownership has yet to be determined. Click here for a map of the Boulder County Mineral Rights by Property as currently known. The red dots represent abandoned wells; the blue circles are producing wells.
Our Boulder County Commissioners Failed to Protect the Public Safety and are Allowing Fracking in Boulder County
Environmental Attorney Dan Leftwich gives public testimony on May 16 to the Boulder County Commissioners that a moratorium to obtain public safety data is legally defensibility and the “legal thing to do.”
Staff have prepared a new Phasing Plan for Oil & Gas Drilling for Boulder County that will be discussed in a public meeting on Weds. June 5th at 5 pm at the Boulder County Courthouse in downtown Boulder, where citizen testimony will be heard. The following day, on June 6th at 3:30 pm, the Boulder County Commissioners and the Planning Commission will vote on whether to proceed with Staff recommendations for a phased approach to fracking in Boulder County.
Background on Boulder County Drilling Moratorium
Sadly, the Boulder County Commissioners decided on Tuesday, May 21 to allow oil and gas drilling in Boulder County. This decision was made despite compelling citizen testimony and thousands of heartfelt and fact-based emails, postcards and phone calls asking for a multi-year moratorium on oil and gas drilling in Boulder County to first get health assessment studies. In addition, attorneys provided case law demonstrating that local governments have the authority to enact a moratorium to obtain more information to protect the public safety.
As a result, on June 11, oil and gas operators can begin submitting applications for fracking as the current moratorium on oil and gas drilling ends on June 10.
We had urged the Commissioners to enact a conservative new 24-month moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Boulder County to get results of health impact studies.
A five-year moratorium on fracking through 2018 would be best to obtain the results of major multi-year public safety studies on hydraulic fracturing now underway with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and the Environment, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Sustainability Research Network. The National Science Foundation study includes a health assessment component being led by medical researchers at University of Colorado at Boulder and Denver.
On Thursday, May 16, the Commissioners reviewed a staff-prepared transportation impact study and approved assessing operators $18,000 per well for damage to our roads. Operators generally take 100 trips a day with heavy 18-wheeler trucks filled with millions of gallons of water. If the Commissioners were willing to spend more than $125,000 on a Transportation Study, why wouldn’t they put the same effort into protecting the public safety?
Click to download a Health Impact Letter for Medical and Healthcare providers.
Click to download Medical Studies Addendum on Public Safety Risks
Researchers have found 25 percent of the toxic chemicals used in fracking cause cancer and mutations. For a list of 944 products containing 632 chemicals used during natural gas operations, please visit the Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) website at http://www.endocrinedisruption.com.
Please see our Research page for peer-reviewed research studies on public safety risks.
Support the Boulder Municipal Utility
Boulder City Council is actively working toward Boulder’s Clean Energy Future as one of its top priorities for 2013. The oil & gas industry reports that 6 to 7% percent of fracked wells leak natural gas or methane at the time of installation. According to NCAR research, a methane leak of more than 2% makes natural gas worse than coal in contributing to Climate Change. Fracking is in direct conflict with Boulder’s Clean Energy Future.
Frack Free Boulder supports the Boulder Municipalization effort because local control of our electricity will move us as fast as possible to a future without fossil fuels. Under a Boulder muni, we can research and effectively seek out sources of natural gas that are not fracked, such as methane digesters at waste water treatment plants, cow manure and bio-gas (using plant non-food based bio sources) and increased battery storage.
UPDATE: The Boulder muni got a YES vote 8-1 to continue to move forward by Boulder City Council members on April 16, 2013. On Tuesday, July 23, a special City Council meeting will take place for a first reading on the condemnation ordinance, to decide whether to proceed on buying the infrastructure from Xcel.