Bill to protect schoolchildren from oil and gas development faces state Senate hearing Wednesday
Folks across Western Colorado cheered as House Bill 1256 passed the Colorado House last month, becoming one of the few oil and gas related bills to even get that far in our divded legislaure. However, this comon-sense but critical bill now faces an uphill battle in the Senate, and we need your help.
HB 1256, introduced by Rep. Mike Foote (D-Longmont), does one simple thing: it makes sure our kids are equally protected from oil and gas development near schools, whether they’re inside the school building or outside on school grounds.
WCC is sending members to testify in person at the committee hearing, and we need your support! Please use our action page to tell key Senate committee members to support HB 1256!
Current regulations don’t provide the same protections to kids when they’re playing outside. The rules say that the minimum distance for new oil and gas facilities is 1,000 ft. from schools, but in practice this means that the measurement starts from the building itself and not the property line. Sports fields, outdoor areas and even modular classrooms aren’t covered.
Failure to close this loophole puts our schoolchildren at risk of the health and safety dangers associated with close proximity to oil and gas operations, including air pollution and the risk of blowouts. A recent blowout on the Front Range sprayed a mist of oil, gas, and drilling wastewater that covered an area 2,000 ft. by 1,000 ft.
This bill would:
- Clarify that for public and private schools and childcare centers, the property line (rather than the building) is the measuring point for new oil and gas facilities.
- Protect areas where children play.
- Increase consistency and treat the oil and gas industry like other industries that require setbacks.
- Better protect kids from pollutants from oil and gas facilities that are harmful to the health of children.
- Provide more protection from accidents.
- Help minimize the negative impacts of drilling. The majority of residential complaints about noise, odor, and dust come from within 1,000 ft. of an oil or natural gas facility.
Our children are vulnerable, and they’re the ones who stand to lose the most if this bill doesn’t pass. The industry doesn’t need protecting, but our kids do. Help us get the bill passed by clicking here!