The stomping resonated throughout the whole building as a storm of 30-some Colorado College students ran up the metal stairs into the city hall meeting Tuesday to have their voice heard.
It was jam-packed inside and the tension so high it mirrored the delicate stakes.
This was the scene at the Colorado Springs City Hall meeting Tuesday where hydraulic fracturing, colloquially known as “fracking,” was up for discussion.
The city preliminarily approved plans to allow fracking within city limits last month with a City Council vote of 6-3 to pass an amendment that would allow oil and gas companies to start their search for natural gas in city parks and federal lands.
On Tuesday City Council voted 7-2 to postpone their final decision on the controversial gas-extraction method.
Fracking is a method of extracting natural gas from bedrock deep underground, a type of drilling that creates miniature earthquakes and allows gas to escape from deep within the earth. Then immense amounts of water and chemicals are pumped in to further extract the gas.
Plainly put, hydraulic fracturing is a way to drill for natural gas, a fossil fuel. The debate, however, is whether this method is safe.
Studies have shown that fracking has contaminated groundwater causing detrimental health effects both to humans and the surrounding ecology.
In Colorado alone there have been cases of people lighting their tap water on fire.
Is it really worth it to sacrifice the purity of our water for the utility of oil?
On the other side of the argument, there have been thousands of cases of fracking with no direct detriment to the water table and thus humans or the environment.
The method remains extremely complex and new scientific studies on the benefits and harms of fracking are published daily.
That’s why on Tuesday, a parade of students marched down to city hall to support the postponement of the vote to legalize fracking within 1,000 feet of densely populated areas. Students banded to together and blocked traffic on Tejon Street on their march down to city hall.
Upon arriving at city hall, students were greeted with hoards of cheering from fellow concerned citizens. Citizens and students alike lined the steps of city hall and stood in solidarity.
The sentiment was clear: many Colorado College students do not support fracking.
After storming up the stairs and into the meeting, eight students stood before the council to voice their opinion. Freshman Evan Levy went up to the podium in front of city council and asked one simple question: “If you’re under 25 and you support fracking please raise your hand.”
The room fell silent and everyone looked around in search of at least one hand.
“My advice for you, City Council, is to get in touch with the younger generation, because we’re not going to stay if you don’t listen to us,” Levy said.
A round of applause ensued and students raised a huge banner reading “Protect our Future. Keep Fracking Out.”
The future of fracking in Colorado Springs is still uncertain, however.
The council voted to postpone the decision by a vote of 7-2, marking a win for anti-frackers. City Council will again hear public concern about fracking and make a final decision in February.