Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A Niwot High School student urges local officials to ban fracking at a site near the campus in Niwot, Colorado. (Photo: YouTube screen grab)

A member of the Niwot High School Environmental Club in Niwot, Colorado speaks out against a proposed fracking site just three miles from the campus. (Photo: YouTube screen grab).

'Protect Us': Colorado High School Students Post Video Pleading With Local Authorities to Ban Fracking

"We shouldn't be afraid for our health when we step outside our own houses," says one of the students in the video. 

Brett Wilkins

Students at a Colorado high school on Monday published a poignant video pleading with local authorities to ban a proposed hydraulic fracturing operation near their campus. 

"Especially during a pandemic, if anything were to happen to the outdoors it would be a disaster for my mental health as well as that of my friends."
—Mercer Stauch, Niwot High School

The video, produced by the Niwot High School Environmental Club in Niwot—a small town of 4,100 residents located about 35 miles north of Denver—calls on the Boulder County Commission to ban fracking. The students' school is located just three miles from the proposed Crestone Peak Resources fracking site, which, with 140 wells, would be the largest such facility in Colorado. 

"The idea that elected officials would allow for something that is so detrimental to the environment and to our health is mind-blowing," said Niwot High freshman Desta Soma in the video. 

The students timed the video's release to coincide with a Tuesday county commission meeting where members will hear public comment on proposed revisions to local regulations governing oil and gas operations.

"We, the youth of Colorado, simply ask our elected officials to do their job, to protect us by using their power and the opportunity presented by S.B. 19-181 to protect Colorado's future," implored Niwot High senior Maya Beauvineau, referring a measure signed into law last year by Gov. Jared Polis that gives local authorities more power to regulate fossil fuel companies' activities. 

"Especially during a pandemic, if anything were to happen to the outdoors it would be a disaster for my mental health as well as that of my friends," Mercer Stauch, a junior, said in the video. Another unidentified student added that fracking "affects us mentally, physically, and socially." 

Last September, a Boulder County District Court judge dismissed 20 of 34 claims in a lawsuit filed by the commissioners in an effort to halt Crestone—one of the largest oil and natural gas extractors in the Denver-Julesberg Basin—from developing the site. 

Residents of Boulder County already suffer from exposure to high levels of carcinogens and toxic ozone caused by the more than 20,000 active oil and gas wells in neighboring Weld County.

One of the Niwot students in the video described having to endure "a brown haze layer that is steadily growing." Another said that "some days we feel burning sensations in our lungs." 

"We shouldn't be afraid for our health when we step outside our own houses," asserted yet another. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senate Dems Help Torpedo Resolution That Would Have Blocked $650 Million Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

"My simple question is, why in the world would the United States reward a regime that has caused such pain in Yemen with more weapons," Sanders asked after the vote. "The answer is we should not."

Brett Wilkins ·


Amnesty Scorecard Finds Twitter Failing to Protect Women From Online Abuse

"As our world has become increasingly dependent on digital spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic, it's critical that Twitter meet this moment with demonstrated commitment to improving the online experiences of all users, regardless of their identity."

Jessica Corbett ·


Filibuster Reform for Debt Ceiling Fight But Not Voting Rights or Reproductive Freedom?

"If our senators are willing to suspend the filibuster to protect our economy, they should be willing to suspend it to protect our democracy and our freedom to vote."

Jessica Corbett ·


As Senate Holds Guantánamo Hearing, Biden Urged to 'Finally End This Chapter of Injustice'

"Guantánamo is a centerpiece of the forever wars. It is a shameful symbol of racial injustice, torture, and violations of the Constitution and international law."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Unbreakable Solidarity': Kellogg's Workers Reject Contract That Would Leave New Employees Out of Benefits

"We're not willing to sell our souls for our future employees that are going to work side by side with us but not get the same pay or benefits."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo