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Erie Approves Fracking Moratorium

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

ERIE, Colo. (CBS4)- Erie’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday approved a moratorium that prevents new permits for gas and oil companies for 180 days.

A group of concerned parents are trying to educate the public about the potential danger of fracking near two schools. The group fought for the temporary hold on the process until it is deemed safe.

Fracking between the two schools, Erie Elementary School and Red Hawk Middle School, was slated to begin this summer.

“We continue to get more and more emails, more concerned moms and dads,” said Erie Rising spokeswoman Jennifer Palazzolo.

Erie Rising is a group made up of concerned parents trying to raise awareness about fracking. Three of the largest oil and gas companies are operating in the town of Erie.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, involves blasting water, sand and chemicals into rock formations to free oil and natural gas. Companies have been fracking for decades, but as drilling expands into more populated areas, residents near wells have expressed concerns about potential effects on their health and drinking water.

“Is is safe or is it not? That’s the question we are looking to have answered,” said Palazzolo.

“More evidence has been uncovered and we’ve learned a lot,” said Trustee Mark Gruber.

Gruber said part of the evidence came from both a recent and soon-to-be published study conducted by NOAA.

“The air currents that we have are directing pollution from gas operations into the atmosphere. Some of it has settled here. We happen to have a test facility from NOAA in Erie, which makes it personal,” said Gruber.

Since the moratorium passed, Gruber said the town will seek to create agreements with the oil and gas companies operating in Erie. Baseline testing of the air and water will also be conducted. If results show dangerous levels of chemicals, Gruber said the oil and gas companies will be asked to help reduce it.

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