GREELEY, Colo. — Parents celebrated a victory in Greeley after forcing an oil and gas company to abandon plans to drill within 900 feet of their kids’ elementary school.
But parents worry their victory may be short-lived.
Mineral Resources, Inc. is within its legal rights to drill 19 wells behind Frontier Academy in the 2500 block of West 29th Street.
It received its permit before more restrictive rules went into effect that increase the distance between wells and schools.
But the company acquiesced to the community’s wishes.
Parents fear the showdown is not over.
The parents say they went to battle against Mineral Resources for the kids at Frontier Academy.
And they won. At least, round one.
“We are grateful it’s been withdrawn,” says concerned mom of two and head of Frontier Parents’ Group, Trisha Golding, of the drilling permit Mineral Resources withdrew.
The group fought to keep the company from drilling 19 wells behind the charter school–as close as 478 feet from the playground and 828 feet from the building.
“Accidents can happen. We don’t want one happening behind our school, and we really want to ensure our kids are safe so we don’t have that risk,” says Golding.
Parents worry about their kids’ safety, especially after an oil storage tank fire by a school in Frederick last week–and two other recent oil fires.
They also worry about the air their kids breathe
“We know in the current proposal, trucks come three times a day. When they do transfers what’s being released into the air?” questions Golding.
Tyler Richardson, Vice President of Mineral Resources says, “The location is safe and suitable…”
But the company withdrew its application anyway.
Logan Richardson, also with Mineral Resources, says, “The original plan is safe and meets all rules and regulations in a state with the most stringent oversight in the nation.
Sometimes, even when you’re right and even when it costs a little more, you do what you can to be neighborly.”
Mineral Resources says it’ll explore increasing the distance of its wells from the school to a minimum of 1,000 feet.
Tyler Richardson says: “This is an example of how our company and industry continue to engage and listen to the community.”
But some parents say that’s not good enough.
“We feel that is a safety circle set by the state, kind of a guideline for what is safe. Really, until these explosions are looked at, if that is an accurate spot for it (the wells) to be, we’re not comfortable with 1,000 feet,” says Golding.
They’d like the wells to be relocated altogether.
“We won’t stop. They are our children. We are going to make sure every aspect of their health and safety is taken into account,” says Golding.
Logan Richardson says the company would like to fulfill its obligation to mineral owners who have entrusted them to safely protect their property rights.