By Tori Mason
DENVER (CBS4)– The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is set to review dozens of new drilling permit applications this week, ahead of a ballot measure that could severely limit oil and gas operations in the state. On Monday, crowds filled the COGCC meeting, made up of both supporters and opponents of Proposition 112.
With Election Day just a little more than a week away, fracking opponents want the commission to wait until Coloradans can vote on Proposition 112.
Supporters of 112 don’t want any permits considered until after the election, because if passed, 112 will limit the areas for new development of oil and gas.
Proposition 112 would ban drilling within 2,500 feet of occupied buildings and vulnerable areas like schools and parks.
However, the sites that are already in operation would be grandfathered in under the current guidelines of 500 to 1,000 feet.
Environmentalists say they need to put public safety first.
“Wells between Pena Blvd and 470? What a great way to introduce all the visitors and tourists to our great state. Just moratorium it until the people vote. Is that too much to ask?” said Prop. 112 supporter Jan Rose.
Rose was among dozens of fracking opponents who made comments at Monday’s meeting.
Opponents of 112 believe these fracking limitations would devastate the state’s economy. They say the committee should consider the thousands of people that could be impacted by Prop. 112.
“This is not about health and safety. This is a ban on oil and gas. Things have been done responsibly. There’s a reason they keep permitting permits,” said Craig Rasmussen, an employee in the oil and gas industry.
Many fracking opponents who spoke also asked the committee to wait for the Colorado Supreme Court to rule on the Martinez case. The suit filed by teenage environmentalists from Boulder states public safety must be prioritized over the interests of oil and gas.
That decision could change the outcome of whether those permits will be granted.