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Plan For Drilling Close To Windsor Homes Draws Fire

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Nikki Stansfield encourages one of her neighbors to band together against a drilling plan nearby. (credit: CBS)

Nikki Stansfield encourages one of her neighbors to band together against a drilling plan nearby. (credit: CBS)

WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – A group of neighbors in Windsor are trying to build a coalition against a drilling project that would be set up within a mile of some homes.

People in the Ridge West subdivision are preparing for a meeting Monday night with Greeley-based Ranchers Exploration Partners, the company behind the plan to set up a drilling pad there.

“Please do not let this happen to our small town,” Nikki Stansfield said on Sunday as she knocked on doors with her message.

“I haven’t found anything that’s positive for this process in a subdivision with at least 200 homes,” Stansfield said of the plan.

What concerns residents the most is a process called fracking. Drills reach their final depth and then use high pressure and a fluid to break open wells deep in the ground.

Companies aren’t required to disclose what’s in that material but some are believed to use benzene as an active agent. The industry contends it’s a safe process, but environmental groups say the inexact science behind it could contaminate water sources.

RELATED STORY: DeGette Pushes For More Regulation Of Hydraulic Fracturing

“Am I going to raise my family and my child here knowing there could be carcinogens seeping in the ground, in the air, as they bring that waste water out from the fracking material?” Stansfield said.

It’s hard to prove if the drilling will be bad for Stansfield’s family’s health, but she says she knows it will negatively impact her home’s value.

“You have to be involved,” she said. “Don’t just sit back and let this just happen to you. Get there tomorrow and see what we can do to slow this down or just stop it.”

Residents said they were offered royalties for any minerals Ranchers Exploration pulls out of the ground with the drill pad, but one family said those royalties might not exceed $70 a year.

Ranchers Exploration declined an interview with CBS4 but they released a statement on the matter.

“Our goal is to assist the interested parties in their legal right to the value of their mineral deposits while adhering to all the legal and environmental requirements.”

RELATED BLOG ENTRY: Hickenlooper’s Fracking Balancing Act

Earler this month at a Colorado Oil and Gas Association meeting Gov. John Hickenlooper told industry leaders to expect new rules to come out requiring companies to disclose exactly what’s in the fracking fluids they are using. The rules are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

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