Press Statement on Die-In at the Boulder County Commissioners
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Boulder County Protectors and community members stage anti-fracking die-in action at Boulder County Commissioners Public Hearing in response to the Commissioners’ refusal to allow the people a voice on the Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights & Protections
October 3rd, 2017
Part I: The Action
Part II: The Narrative
PART I: The Action. Getting the word out to other members of the community.
On Tuesday morning (3 Oct), community members made their voices heard by staging an action at the Boulder County Commissioners’ public hearing. Community members and members of the Boulder County Protectors protested outside the County Government Office on Pearl Street Mall. Several of the Boulder County Protectors were dressed in anti-fracking hazmat suits with oil barrels, labeled as “TOXIC”, making noise and handing out flyers to help educate the public about the dangers of fracking and about how to stop it.
About 10-15 Boulder County Protectors and community members spoke at the Commissioner’s open public comment period. One community member had this to say:
“Our current system of law is literally killing us. Your citizens are lying on the floor of this hearing room to show you first-hand, the death and destruction that is coming to Boulder County from fracking. We are staging a peaceful die-in to illustrate the lethality and the seriousness of what you are allowing to happen.“
In order to visually illustrate the lethal nature of fracking and to emphasize the critical nature of the immediate fracking crisis, community members staged a “die-in” form of protest. People simulated the deaths caused by fracking pollution and oil/gas explosions by lying on the hearing room floor with cardboard tombstones. The tombstones were painted with anti-fracking messages including: R.I.P. Open Space, Fracking Killed Me, Died so Oil + Gas Execs Could Get Rich, R.I.P. Clean Air, COGCC Killed Me, R.I.P. Clean Water, Here Lies Polluted Open Space, Fracking Kills, Greedy Frackers Killed Me, etc.
The County Commissioners asked the activists to go back to their seats, but ultimately they allowed the public comment period to proceed with the community members occupying the floor. Members of the community continued to “play dead” on the hearing room floor until all of the speakers had finished giving their testimony. Upon the conclusion of the meeting, the community members were asked to leave by the sheriff’s officers. The activists ceased their occupation and left the the hearing room chanting, “No Drills, Fracking Kills.” The anti-fracking rally then continued outside the government building in conjunction with the Boulder County Protectors dressed in hazmat suits with oil barrels.
PART II: Why the action? Our Narrative.
The Boulder County Commissioners enacted a fracking moratorium in 2012. In May of this year (2017), the fracking moratorium in Boulder County ended. Since then, the Boulder County Commissioners started paving the way for over 1800 toxic, fracking oil and gas wells to be drilled across Boulder County. Between the communities of Lafayette and Longmont over 200 wells are currently in the permitting process, the drillers being Crestone Peak Resources and 8 North ( a subsidiary of Extraction Oil and Gas). The three parcels targeted for new drilling include large swaths of public land and open space purchased with taxpayer’s money.
The Commissioners continue to greenwash the facts by telling the public that fracking can be done safely and responsibly under its newly re-written oil and gas regulations. The Commissioners mislead the public by saying that their hands are tied and that there is nothing more the they can do. We do not accept the statement that there is nothing more the Commissioners can do to protect us. In the same way Boulder County residents are putting their liberty at risk to ban fracking, the Boulder County Commissioners must put by their careers on the line to ban fracking for the residents of Boulder County, who the Commissioners ostensibly serve.
The Boulder County Protectors are speaking out against these drilling plans to defend their right to a safe environment for themselves and for their families and informing other community members of the issues. The Boulder County Protectors reiterate their demand that the Boulder County Commissioners:
Deny all permits to begin drilling Boulder County
End scientifically misleading statements that fracking can be made safe
Join with community members to protect the environment and the basic rights of everyone in Boulder County
Enact the Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights & Protections or resign their positions so that others can lead
In August, Michelle Krezek, the Department Director of the Boulder County Commissioners, confirmed that the Commissioners will not be allowing the Boulder County community a vote on the Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights & Protections. Community members have exhausted all the legal channels to move the Boulder County Commissioners to act on behalf of their constituents. The Boulder County Protectors interprets the Boulder County Commissioners’ lack of action for their constituents to be a violation of our basic human rights. We have the right to defense — to do what it takes to protect public health, safety, and well being ourselves. Therefore, with the power of direct action, the Boulder County Protectors see alerting other members of the community of these facts and of our collective power as ordinary working class people to defend ourselves as a paramount goal.