Mothers, teachers, and community members have delivered a signed petition to Governor Jared Polis Sunday, June 21 to cease the activity of the fracking of wells behind the Bella Romero Academy in Greeley.
Delivering over 70 signatures from parents of students and more than 1,000 additionally supporting, the petition began gaining traction in March. One main reason for the birth of the petition was a report from the nonprofit 350 Colorado, indicating that levels of benzene at the school had raised on multiple occasions from October 2018 through December 2019.
“We had to fight to have an air monitor at our school, and now we know that our children are being put in danger by this state-sanctioned project,” said Patricia Nelson, whose son is a Bella Romero student. “No one can guarantee the safety of my son and his classmates, nor can they guarantee that this will not affect them for the rest of their lives”.
A hot topic for a few years, the fracking wells behind Bella Romero Academy received approved permits for 24 wells within 700 feet from the playground in March of 2017 from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). In 2016, numerous rallies, protests, and even a lawsuit took place in an effort to stop the project from moving forward.
Therese Gilbert, mother and teacher in the district who submitted the signature alongside Nelson, are asking Gov. Polis to cease the drilling as well as for the state to implement protective measures that would expand monitoring near schools. Weld County is among the top-producing counties in the state that received an “F” rating in air quality.
“The students at Bella Romero have no choice but to attend their neighborhood school,” said Gilbert. “The students at Bella Romero depend on us to keep them safe, and any risk taken with their health and safety is a risk too great”.