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October 17, 2019

New study finds acute health impacts exist up to 2000 feet from oil and gas operations

Study findings will be considered as Boulder County works to update current regulations

Boulder County, Colo. - The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) announced today, Oct. 17, 2019, the results of a study that examined the health impacts of air emissions from oil and gas pre-production operations. The results of the study - conducted by Colorado State University with data reported in 2016 – indicate that drilling and fracking of wells could cause health impacts in people as far away as 2,000 feet from a facility under worst-case weather conditions and peak emissions. This study confirms that acute health impacts from drilling and fracking exist beyond the COGCC’s current well setback distances.

There are currently no drilling and fracking operations occurring within Boulder County. As a result, the concerns raised in the study only affect the county from pre-production drilling and fracking operations outside county boundaries. The county has a moratorium in place on new oil and gas development while it revises its local oil and gas regulations in light of Senate Bill 19-181 and the CDPHE study will be an important consideration for the new regulations that will seek to impose strict protections for public health.

“While the results of the state’s new health study are disturbing, they’re not surprising - they affirm and validate the fears and concerns that we and our constituents have long had about oil and gas development’s negative impacts on public health. The study confirms that the COGCC should say no to fracking anywhere near homes, schools, and neighborhoods,” stated Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones.

“As elected leaders for Boulder County our priorities are protecting public safety, health, and the environment, as it should always be,” said Commissioner Matt Jones. “This study shows these dangerous oil and gas operations don’t belong anywhere near people.”

“We have been committed from the beginning to protecting public health, safety, and the environment from the impacts of intensive oil and gas development and will continue to use legislative, legal, environmental, and public health strategies to fight for tighter restrictions in Boulder County,” said Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardner. “This new information just serves to strengthen our resolve."