More than 247,000 Coloradans live within half a mile of an oil and gas well, and more than 140 schools are situated within half a mile, which is closer than the average evacuation distance in case of a well blowout. The evacuation area is a radius of 0.8 miles, or 4,224 feet. Currently, fracking operations are allowed to take place just 500’ from a home and 1,000’ from a school building (and right by school playgrounds). Health studies show harmful effects to people within a ½ mile of fracking operations. The ballot initiative will establish a buffer zone of 2,500 feet (almost ½ mile) from these operations and occupied buildings or areas of special concern.
Fracking sites release a toxic stew of air pollution including chemicals that can cause severe headaches, asthma, childhood leukemia and other cancers, cardiac problems, and congenital birth defects. There have been at least 15 oil and gas related explosions since the April 2017 Firestone home explosion, several of which have killed or severely burned workers and residents. At least 619 spills in Colorado in 2017 released at least 93,000 gallons of oil into the soil, groundwater and streams. The Proposition 112 campaign is working to pass a statewide statutory law that would establish common sense buffer zones between fracking and occupied buildings – like homes and schools, and areas of special concern – like playgrounds and drinking water sources.
The number of Colorado jobs and the economic benefits of fossil fuels are greatly overstated by industry. Including related businesses, oil and gas employs less than 1% of the state’s workforce, many from out-of-state. The fossil fuel industry is propped up by mostly hidden global subsidies amounting to $5 trillion annually.