Denver, CO – Faced with the threat of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Denver and its watershed, a broad coalition of faith, health, environmental, business, labor and community groups and leaders today launched the “Don’t Frack Denver” campaign calling on Mayor Michael B. Hancock and the City Council to protect the Mile High City and its residents from the dangerous and toxic practice.
After a noon press conference on the steps of the Denver City & County Building, members of the Don’t Frack Denver coalition visited the Mayor’s office to deliver a letter urging Mayor Hancock and the City Council to keep fracking out of the city and its water supply.
“It’s common sense, an economic necessity and a moral imperative: We must not frack Denver’s water, businesses, air or people,” says John Fielder. “History proves that societies that protect the natural environment are healthier, happier and more prosperous than those that foul their waters and damage their landscapes.”
Fracking is a dangerous fossil fuel extraction method that involves blasting thousands of gallons of water, chemicals and sand deep underground to fracture rock that holds natural gas and oil. The controversial practice is rampant in Colorado despite its association with air and water contamination, earthquakes and negative human health impacts, including birth defects and cancer. While communities around the state and the nation work to ban fracking, Denver might allow it within city limits. In the suburban housing developments in the City’s northeast, real estate developers have been selling the land beneath working families’ homes for fracking.
“No mother should have to worry that her children will be born with developmental issues or develop unknown illnesses because the fracking industry decided to put this dangerous industrial activity next to homes and where children go to school,” said Rossina Schroeer, a mother and leader with Green Valley Families Against Fracking.
“We need to put a moratorium on fracking in Denver to make sure that my family and thousands of others like mine don’t live in fear for our health, safety and property,” said Ronda Belen a mother and leader with Green Valley Families Against Fracking.
In addition to threatening neighborhoods within city limits, fracking could threaten Denver’s drinking water. The Bureau of Land Management has begun a planning process for 280,000 acres that will result in land being leased in the South Platte River Basin for fracking. This area supplies more than a third of Denver’s drinking water.
“Fracking makes Coloradans sick, drives down property values and contaminates our public water and clean air,” said Sam Schabacker, Western Region Director with Food & Water Watch. “Denver’s exceptional quality of life is too precious to risk: fracking must not take place in our community or watershed.”
The South Platte Basin also supports Denver’s economy: sport fishers, boaters and Denver’s iconic craft brewers rely on clean water.
“As a Colorado brewery, we rely on clean Colorado water for our livelihood,” said Betty Wang Co-Owner of CAUTION: Brewing Company. “Anything that threatens the cleanliness of our Rocky Mountain water is a direct threat to us as a business.”
The Don’t Frack Denver coalition calls on Mayor Hancock and the Denver City Council to place a moratorium on fracking within city limits and to use their influence to keep fracking out of the South Platte River Basin.
“We simply do not know enough about fracking’s impacts on the land, air, water—and ultimately, of course, on us—to allow it to continue and proceed unabated in our very backyard,” said Reverend Nelson Bock of Colorado Interfaith Power and Light. “Moreover, we are called as stewards to safeguard those resources and eco-systems not only for our own well-being but for the well-being of all.”
Greenpeace’s canvassing team will be hitting the streets of Denver talking to members about the Don’t Frack Denver campaign. Greenpeace has had an active Denver office since 2008. The canvassing team talks to thousands of Colorado residents and visitors each week.
“The Colorado Progressive Coalition is against fracking anywhere in Colorado but we are especially concerned that companies continue to target low-income, communities of color for their reckless environmental practices,” said Mike Roque, Executive Director of the Colorado Progressive Coalition. “These communities have the least amount of political power to fight back against the big corporations and their government supporters. We call upon Mayor Hancock and City Council to stop fracking in Denver.”
“Fracking in Denver threatens my generation and future generations,” said Emma Bray, East High School student and founder of Kids Against Fracking. “The enormous contribution to climate change and the harm to water and air endangers my health and that of all the youth who live in this city, this state, this country and on this planet. I can’t think of any benefit from industrial activity that justifies this kind of damage.”
These individuals, groups and businesses have joined “Don’t Frack Denver”: 350 Denver; American Friends Service Committee – Colorado Program, Colorado AFSC, AFSC-Denver Office; Caution Brewery; Colorado Interfaith Power & Light; Colorado Jobs with Justice; Colorado Progressive Coalition; CREDO; Denver Democratic Party District 7b Fracking Committee; Denver Justice and Peace Committee; Eco-Justice Ministries; Fiction Brewery; Food & Water Watch; Greenpeace, John Fielder; Kids Against Fracking; Mercury Café; MM Local; Mo’ Betta Green Marketplace; Our Mutual Friend Brewing; Padres & Jóvenes Unidos; Rosenberg’s Bagels; Sierra Club – Denver Metro Network; Slow Food Denver; WildEarth Guardians