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Group Delivers 21,000 Petitions To Encana Over Fracking In Erie

DENVER (CBS4) - A group of Colorado mothers hand delivered 21,000 petitions from across the country to the Denver headquarters of Encana Oil and Gas. They want fracking stopped.

A group of toddlers and their parents showed up at Encana's office with a message that said, "Please Do Not Frack My School." The group, called Erie Rising, has been protesting a drilling operation that will begin in four days near Red Hawk Elementary and Erie Elementary School.

"The risk to their safety with drilling, the chemicals that they are using, and trucks that are transporting the chemicals back and forth," Jennifer Palazzolo with Erie Rising said.

The group went to Encana hoping to deliver the petitions to the company's president. National advocate group Food and Water Watch is now backing the moms.

"We are drawing a line in the sand. The evidence is mounting that fracking and related oil and gas activity drives down property values, contaminates air and water, and threatens our communities," Sam Schabacker with Food and Water Watch said.

Fracking is the hydraulic fracturing of rock that contains gas and oils so they can be collected. The materials used for fracking are controversial and believed to contaminate water and air supplies.

The mothers got their petitions delivered but weren't allowed upstairs or to see the president. But they were met by Encana's community advisor and security.

"Erie Rising's approach has been based on fear rather fact. Here are the facts for this location. The setback standard set by the state of Colorado is 350 feet in a high density residential area," Wendy Wiedenbeck with Encana said. "The setbacks for this location far exceed that. We are more than 2,000 feet from Red Hawk Elementary and 1,600 feet from Erie Elementary."

Encana has been drilling in the Erie community since 2006. Erie Rising says they still want it stopped.

"We didn't come here thinking we'd be let in but we hoped," a mother said.

After delivering the petitions to Encana the group brought copies to Gov. John Hickenlooper's office. They also invited the governor to join them June 2 when they are holding a rally to continue to get this message out.

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