Colorado Proposition 112: Anti-Fracking Law Gets Bipartisan Opposition

By Alex Berezow, PhD — Nov 01, 2018
There aren't many things today that unite both sides of the political aisle, but leave it to some environmental activists to achieve the impossible. There's bipartisan opposition to a proposed Colorado law that would severely curtail fracking in the state.
Credit: Storyblocks

There aren't many things that unite both sides of the political aisle today, but environmental activists have achieved the impossible. In Colorado, there is bipartisan opposition to a proposed law, called Proposition 112, that would severely curtail fracking in the state.

Proposition 112 is being pushed by a group called Colorado Rising, which claims on its website, "A growing body of public health research shows that living too close to fracking operations, especially less than 2,500 feet, is a serious risk to health and safety."

Really? If that's true, they don't provide links to any convincing studies. The highest profile study they cite concluded that fracking causes an increase in low-birth weight babies. However, an independent research organization called Resources for the Future demonstrated several flaws and self-contradictory findings in the paper.

Colorado Rising also makes the absurdly laughable claim that fracking causes an 800% increase in cancer. The study they cited doesn't actually show that; instead, the authors took a few air samples then made theoretical calculations about how many people should get cancer. Nobody bothered to collect any data on actual health outcomes.

Using these extremely flimsy studies, Colorado Rising then concludes that the current buffer zone (500 feet or 1,000 feet, depending on nearby structures) is too low and arbitrary. Therefore, the solution to the (imaginary) problem of fracking is to implement a different arbitrary standard of 2,500 feet. If you disagree, it's because you've been fooled by "one of the most powerful industries in the world."

Bipartisan Opposition to Proposition 112

Naturally, Colorado citizens would like to know how much land would be banned from fracking development if Prop 112 became law. Energy, after all, is an important sector in Colorado's economy. Well, Colorado Rising doesn't know: "It is difficult to give an exact percentage of total land that would be protected." That's not good; in reality, they probably want to ban as much land as possible.

Maybe that's why Prop 112 has elicited bipartisan condemnation. The current (Democratic) governor of Colorado and the two candidates vying to replace him are opposed. (See video, 19:34.) The Denver Post is opposed, noting that "a dry creek bed that flows only during a heavy rain would suddenly have a 450 acre no-drill zone around it."

But because people respond to scare tactics, Prop 112 just might win, anyway. We'll find out on November 6.


Alex Berezow, PhD

Former Vice President of Scientific Communications

Dr. Alex Berezow is a PhD microbiologist, science writer, and public speaker who specializes in the debunking of junk science for the American Council on Science and Health. He is also a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and a featured speaker for The Insight Bureau. Formerly, he was the founding editor of RealClearScience.

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