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Parents In Erie Form Group To Fight Against Fracking

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An Encana sign at the site in Erie (credit: CBS)

An Encana sign at the site in Erie (credit: CBS)

ERIE, Colo. (CBS4) – Some parents in Erie have comprised a group called “Erie Rising.” They say their issue with an approved fracking project near two of their schools is just the beginning of their fight.

Erie Rising was formed about 4 weeks ago as the drilling site has been getting prepped. In the next few weeks Erie Rising is planning a full campaign attempting a ban on the practice of fracking in the town of Erie.

Encana representatives say Red Hawk Elementary would have the most impact from traffic because of proposed access to the drilling site. Meanwhile, Erie Elementary is closer to the drilling site. That school’s issue will include view and noise. But parents who live there say health concerns are their issue.

“I feel like I’m sitting on top of something that isn’t healthy for my family,” concerned parent Wendy Leonard said.

Leonard is one of many parents in Erie frustrated by fracking. Two of her children attend Red Hawk Elementary.

“The light bulb clicked when I realized how many families that live in Erie have sick children,” Leonard said.

Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of rock that contains gas and oils so they can be collected. The materials used are controversial and believed to contaminate water and air supplies.

“The start date hasn’t been determined yet,” Wendy Weidenbeck with Encana said.

Encana representatives say they’ve had a presence in Erie since 2006 with 325 producing wells, among other companies drilling on that shale basin. They believe the practice of fracking is safe but recognize that drilling near schools may come with challenges. They will soon meet with school and district officials to discuss concerns.

“And determine if there are things we should look at like traffic patterns, hours of operations, or changing the date all together,” Weidenbeck said.

“I’d like to ask them to show me the proof that it’s safe, because I have proof that it’s not,” Leonard said.

Members of Erie Rising say they want fracking stopped, which is why the group says they are now working with an environmental legal group to try and ban the practice of fracking in their town.

“My plan is, and I’m not the only one, is not to stay here,” Leonard said.

Encana says they will have their meeting with the school district soon, and then hold a community meeting to hear feedback from people who live near the drilling sites.

Erie Rising says they plan to be at a town hall meeting on Jan. 10 to make their fight public.

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