Greeley school parents’ fury forces oil and gas driller to back down

An oil and gas industry proposal to drill 19 wells within 900 feet of an elementary school in Greeley ignited such parent fury that company officials on Monday backed down.

Mineral Resources Inc. officials said withdrawing their application to drill by the Frontier Academy school is an example of listening to community concerns.

They made their decision as state regulators are investigating recent fires and explosions at industry storage tanks northeast of Denver — including one last week near a different elementary school.

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Colorado oil drilling boom intensifies as voter initiatives multiply

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers was walking down Denver’s 16th Street Mall recently when a Greenpeace activist asked if he’d like to ban fracking.

It reflected the intensifying battle over how to balance public demands for a pristine environment and health versus ramped-up production of fossil fuels.

Front Range residents have proposed 17 state ballot measures to bolster local control over drilling, short of a statewide ban, and are drawing support from at least one Internet-made multi-millionaire — U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. Coloradans for Local Control campaign adviser Rick Ridder said national groups also will join the fray, fighting the industry’s Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development.

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