New drilling planned near Erie draws ire of some at oil and gas committee meeting

Posted at 5:42 PM, Jul 31, 2018

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. -- Some residents in Boulder County are furious about plans to drill more oil wells. This time, the battle is over new drilling near Erie which was just approved by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Oil and gas producer Crestone Peak Resources plans to drill several wells off Highway 52 near 107th Ave.

"(These oil and gas companies) talk about safety like – ‘Yeah, we're looking at safety.’ Well what happened with Firestone? You know, that should have never happened," said Gena Simpson-Li, who has lived near Boulder for 47 years.

She believes the COGCC is simply rubber-stamping new drilling.

"They're just sitting here saying, ‘Approved. Approved. Approved,’" Simpson-Li said.

The commission did take measures Monday to increase setbacks around schools to 1,000 feet from the edge of school property rather than the edge of school buildings.

That came in response to outrage about Bella Romero Academy in Greeley, where an oil company’s drilling rigs were placed right up to the edge of soccer fields there.

All of this comes as the airwaves in Colorado are becoming increasingly saturated with campaign ads. The ads are both for and against ballot Initiative 97, which would call for 2,500-foot setbacks from any home or building statewide.

"(It's an) invasion by the oil and gas industry into our neighborhoods," said one participant at the hearing.

Others argue oil and gas has a place.

"Thank you for what you do,” said another participant at the hearings, “for making it possible to protect our private property rights and for balancing oil and gas development."

The company drilling those new wells in Boulder agreed to repave any roads destroyed by trucks during the drilling process and promised to work to mitigate light, noise and other pollution.