July 23, 2020

Contact: Micah Parkin,, 504-258-1247


Thousands Call for a Fracking Ban on Boulder County’s November Ballot 

A unprecedented coalition of nonprofits, business, and elected officials submit letter and petition to Boulder County commissioners

BOULDER, CO – Today, local environmental and community organizations submitted a petition in support of enacting a fracking ban in Boulder County and formal letter to the Boulder County Commissioners requesting that they refer a fracking ban to the ballot for the November 2020 election. The petition includes a wide array of support from over 50 businesses and nonprofit organizations that represent 130,000 Boulder County residents calling for a ban on fracking in Boulder County. The letter 350 Colorado and allies submitted was signed by numerous organizations, businesses and local elected officials, including the Longmont City Council, which voted to support the effort at their meeting earlier this week. The coalition announced that in recent polling 70% of Boulder County voters said they support a countywide fracking ban.

“Although eastern Boulder County is most directly and immediately affected by fracking, this is an issue that affects all Boulder County residents,” said Gabrielle Katz, a member of The Lookout Alliance, a community group that formed after the announcement of 140 wells proposed around their neighborhoods. “Make no mistake — the toxic air emissions, risks related to dangerous accidents and spills, and negative impacts to open space, reduce the quality of life for all of us. A fracking ban is the clearest and most effective way to protect ourselves from this hazardous industrial activity.”

SB 19-181 eliminated state preemption in regulation of oil and gas activities, granting counties and municipalities land-use and zoning authority over fracking operations and the authority to prioritize public health and safety. Referring a ban on fracking to the November ballot, accompanied by a small sales and use tax increase to support its implementation, will give Boulder County voters the ability to protect themselves from the threat of industrial oil and gas operations.

“We have the authority and the means to act to protect our county from fracking and we must use it,” said State Representative Edie Hooton (House District 10), one of several elected officials who signed onto the letter. 

The proposed ballot measure would permanently ban fracking in the county and create a very small .05% sales and use tax for five years to cover the costs of implementing and supporting a ban. Such costs could include county staff time, legal support, enforcement, acquiring mineral rights and leases, and work in collaboration with the Colorado Just Transition office to support the transition of jobs and infrastructure from the fossil fuel industry to clean, renewable energy to benefit both workers and the county’s health and climate goals.

“For years, Boulder County has called on the state of Colorado to allow local regulation of oil and gas production,” said Ramesh Bhatt of the Indian Peaks Group of the Sierra Club. “With the passage of SB19-181 their wish was granted, and our call to action is simple, let the voters decide.”

For more than five years, opposition to oil and gas development by fracking in the county has been reinforced as hundreds of local community members crowded public hearing rooms calling for a ban, especially as Extraction LLC and Crestone Peak proposed 140 wells on Boulder County Open Space land. The letter submitted today points to Boulder County’s strong track record on climate policy, including the declaration of a climate emergency in 2019 and the ongoing lawsuit against Exxon and Suncor as an additional precedent for strong action against oil and gas drilling. 

“Allowing any fracking to proceed in Boulder County would further degrade our already serious air quality issues, threaten open space land and water sources, and further contribute to the climate crisis. This would be fundamentally inconsistent with the appropriately aggressive approach the county has taken to fighting climate change,” said 350 Colorado Executive Director Micah Parkin.

Research performed by Dr. Detlev Helmig, funded in part by Boulder County, has demonstrated that Boulder County’s air quality is already adversely affected by oil and gas operations in Weld County, and that oil and gas operations are a significant contributor to excessive and dangerous levels of carcinogenic benzene exposure and ozone leading to F-grade air quality (according to the American Lung Association) in Boulder and along the Front Range. 

The submission of the letter comes before a key deadline this Friday for the commissioners to indicate to the county clerk that they plan to place the question on this November’s ballot. The final date for the commissioners to schedule a public hearing on the issue is August 14. 

350 Colorado encourages any supportive community members to take action to support this effort by visiting their website:


The sign on letter, petition, draft resolution and ballot language can be found at

About 350 Colorado:

350 Colorado is a nonprofit organization working locally to help build the global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and transition to a sustainable future. For more information visit: or find us on social media @350Colorado.