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Drilling Over Drilling: School Prepares for Unique Threat


By Greg Zimmerman Emergency Preparedness
Fracking well

Facility managers in K-12 schools must ensure students and teachers are prepared for any number of scenarios, from earthquakes to active shooters to fires. But one elementary school in Greeley, Colo., is running emergency preparedness drills for a unique scenario: a fracking well explosion.

The drills are in response an oil company that somehow received permission to drill a fracking well 1,000 feet from the school. That notion of how to perform a drill for a fracking well explosion was the lead on this story on The Daily Show. But the story soon got to another aspect of the matter, first reported by Mother Jones: Did the owner of the well locate the well near this particular school because of the ethnicities of the school’s students?

The oil company originally wanted to build the well near a school with 77 percent white students. But enough parents of the school’s students complained, and the company moved the well and received permission to its current location near a school with a majority Hispanic students, according to the Sierra Club and other environmental groups suing the oil company.

The oil company agreed to stop drilling during the school year, according to Desi Lydic of The Daily Show, though it does plan to restart drilling this summer.

Greg Zimmerman is executive editor of Building Operating Management. Read his cover story on how buildings are tackling climate change.

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