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Where the Deer and the Antelope Played

Motorists heading to Colorado ski resorts are being confronted with images of the state not found in tourist brochures: Pollution-spewing oil and gas rigs looming over wildlife habitat, ranchland and neighborhoods.

The billboards are part of a campaign by the Colorado Environmental Coalition to tell Coloradans and out-of-state visitors that there's a dark side to the state's vast petroleum industry.

Drilling devastates pristine wilderness, encroaches on prime hunting and fishing areas, and can expose people to an array of toxic chemicals that are pumped into underground wells to increase production. The coalition is campaigning for adoption of new state drilling rules that provide greater protection for land, animals and people. (Earthjustice's Denver office is representing the coalition in the rulemaking process.)

"We need to protect the places that make Colorado and the West what it is, like proposed wilderness areas and key wildlife habitat that are too sensitive and too important to drill," the coalition says in a press release. "Enough with the 'Drill, Baby, Drill' chants. Let's be sure the oil and gas industry doesn't take shortcuts with our wildlife, land, health and wallets. Otherwise, it will be Coloradans who are getting drilled."

Tags:  gas, oil, public lands

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