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**UPDATE FOR MAY 11TH BOARD MEETING ADDED**
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2021
Fear and Frustration Rise as Erie Prepares for Unprecedented Fracking
A small Colorado community demands adequate air quality monitoring as three major fracking operations threaten nearby homes
ERIE, CO — In 2019, when Senate Bill 19-181 was signed into law, Erie residents thought their health and safety would finally come before oil and gas operations. Yet, over two years later Erie Colorado is preparing to be a major hotspot for residential drilling. On March 31, Erie residents will face an onslaught of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations with over 28 active wells in a half a mile radius, surrounded by several major residential developments.
“How do I protect my family? After working for 36 years and now being retired, do I risk my health and give my children a responsibility of taking care of me that no one wants? All any of us want is to stay healthy. After this year, haven’t we all learned that that is what matters most?!” asks Sharon Schuessler (Erie Resident).
The hydraulic fracturing operations at Mae J, Papa Jo, and Yellowhammer are unprecedented in the Front Range given the wells were drilled in 2017 at Papa Jo/Yellowhammer and subsequently in 2019 at Mae J, but not fracked until the spring of 2021. In the meantime, housing permits were issued by the Town of Erie to build hundreds of homes to the south in the Colliers Hill development, many within 1,000 ft of the well pad at Mae J.
Neighbors have reported everything from unbearable noise and odor to severe health concerns including respiratory and neurological symptoms to the Colorado Department of Public Health. Residential air quality monitoring equipment indicates the air quality in the region is often worse than it was at peak wildfire season.
“I never would have thought fracking would be so close to us. We have a 5 month old and she is already starting to cough and her eyes seem to be irritated. We are so worried. My husband and I have had headaches, respiratory issues, irritated eyes, heart palpitations, and fatigue,” said Carissa Blosser (Erie Resident).
Local community members have called on the Town of Erie to implement continuous air monitoring that is available in real-time to the public. The town is preparing a Request for Proposals for air monitoring solutions, but frustration has grown as fracking activity will increase without substantial independent air
quality monitoring in place.
“Our pleas and those of our neighbors have been generally dismissed by state agencies. The town of Erie has acknowledged the need for air quality monitoring but nothing tangible has been done to help suffering residents since fracking began in mid February,” said Sandra Duggan ( Erie Resident).
Communities like Erie raise important questions about the state’s commitment to public health and safety. The state’s own research points to negative health consequences within 2,000ft of an active fracking operation, yet the Polis Administration officials have no plans to protect the over 247,000 Coloradans
who live within a half mile of an existing facility. While SB-181 may help to restrict new drilling, the lack of enforcement on existing infrastructure leaves communities like Erie wondering, but what about us?