Photo of drilling site in Erie.
“My name is Kelsey and I live in Colliers Hill, just a half-mile from 28 oil & gas wells. My family and I relocated from Chicago one year ago. We are outdoorsy people and love all the open space, trails and mountain views Colorado has to offer. I have an immunodeficiency and asthma, and we thought the temperate climate would be a good fit. Being born and raised in the Midwest, we were naïve to what fracking entails and couldn’t fathom that the beautiful fields to the north of us were going to turn into massive fracking pads almost overnight. Honestly, we thought that Papa Jo, Yellowhammer & Tall Grass signs on Weld CR 3 were types of crops for sale—yeah, I know. That’s how naïve we were.
But it all changed in January 2021. I started getting “Notify Me” notices from the Town of Erie about Oil & Gas activities, which forced me to learn the technical oil & gas terms like liquids unloading, types of wells, and the locations of wells. It was horrifying. And then the Mae J walls went up in February. And I learned that 12 wells were going to be fracked, with pipelines extending under our houses.
And while I may be brand new to the area, the beauty about recording public board meetings is that I was able to watch the 2017 Erie Board of Trustees meeting, when the Trustees danced with the devil and sold out to Anadarko. One trustee mentioned the Colliers Hill Development in that meeting and knew it would be a problem. But they proceeded with the agreement anyway. The town chose the promise of profits from oil and gas over residents’ safety. And here we are now.
Since February, we have seen the particulates air quality levels spike to levels in the EPA unsafe, red zone. One date in March, they were literally off the charts. For comparison, these levels are similar to when we had raging forest fires this past summer. Ironically, we only know of the air quality near the site because of a private resident’s air quality monitoring system. But should we as residents have to spend $100s or $1000s of dollars to monitor and purify the air in our homes? I think not. The Oil & Gas companies don’t want us to know how toxic and polluted their sites make the air around and in our homes. In the meeting I referenced before, air quality monitoring was supposed to have been instituted. But is there any?! Nothing aside from the SUMMA canister that we as residents begged the mayor to have installed. Only last week, on May 11, the Town of Erie voted for Boulder AIR and Ajax Air Quality Monitoring, which is sadly, months too late.
Science is clear about the dangers of fracking. The 2019 study commissioned by the Colorado Dept of Public Health & Environment confirmed the increased risk of cancer and health impacts if you reside within a half-mile of oil and gas activity. I don’t want my family to end up with cancer or chronic headaches, nosebleeds, asthma, all of which could have been prevented if we pushed Oil & Gas out of our neighborhood. I want this community to stay a safe and enjoyable place to raise a family, and I hope and pray that more of our neighbors will join our battle to keep it that way.”