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Front Range moms keep O&G in check

Acknowledged this past Sunday, Mother’s Day, the trials and ordeals of parenthood shape mothers into forces to be reckoned with. That same fortitude and compassion also equipped several Colorado moms with a powerful voice to challenge health and safety issues with oil and gas development, The Denver Post reports.

Trisha Golding started frequenting oil and gas hearings when 19 oil and gas wells sprouted within 900 feet of her children’s elementary school.

“This is not something I want to do, but you want your children to be safe,” Golding told the Denver Post.

Golding is among many Front Range moms who attorney Matt Sura said have become “reluctant experts on oil and gas”:

They have taken the time to learn the issues and they are slowly convincing people in state government, and in the oil and gas industry itself, that things have to change.

Kate Hall of Timnath put her talents as an accountant and auditor to use when she discovered a concerning number of errors in pending applications. She brought the errors to attention at a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission meeting in January, asking the commission to take preemptive steps to avoid such errors in the future.

Hall’s findings struck a chord with COGCC, according to Commissioner Richard Alward:

I find this all kind of embarrassing.

Golding’s presence at COGCC meetings opened a dialogue between area parents and Extraction Oil and Gas, which plans to drill six wells near her daughter’s elementary school.

“Trisha and I talk often,” said Extraction President Matt Owens. “We are diligently trying to find a new location and working with the Frontier parents group.”

Golding would, however, prefer the company leave the area untapped:

It is such a developed area that there is no good location. We’ve tried to do what we can, but there is only so much you can do, you can’t mitigate a bad site.

Some parents, such as Shawndra Barry, have met with state officials to discuss the issues. Having extensively studied oil and gas maps and data, Barry the oil and gas task force during an open comment period at their Durango meeting in January.

After voicing her suggestions for a “thin layer of protection” between drill sites and landowners, Gov. Hickenlooper invited Barry to the Capital.

“Shawndra was very concerned about the closeness of drilling to her home and to other homes in her community,” Gov. Hickenlooper told Denver Post in an email. “I think some of what I shared may have influenced her thinking, just a little. I know she moved me. …She should run for office.”

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