Lafayette Pushes Council Back on Drilling Policy
No Drilling Regulations Until November at Earliest
After Lafayette community members created an unprecedented takeover of the local city council meeting on June 19, councilors announced plans to delay approval and implementation of drilling regulations until at least November. The announcement came during the Lafayette council meeting July 3, which also saw a significant police presence in response to community members forcing the unplanned conclusion of the prior meeting before council could vote to legalize local drilling.
Lafayette council Democrats and community members have been in conflict regarding oil and gas drilling for many years. The council majority, guided by loyalty to party, state and industry drilling policy, has attempted to evade community demand for a frontal rejection of fracking and the laws that mandate the dangerous practice. Confronted by an emboldened level of defiance, the council has been compelled to hold town hall meetings on community rights and adopt a truncated version of the Climate Bill of Rights in 2017. Tuesday's meeting added to the surge of community members pushing to stop drilling in Lafayette and Boulder County with the announcement that drilling policy would not be adopted for months at least.
“Politicians will always remind you that progress and resistance are impossible,” said Theresa Stets, Lafayette resident and candidate for House District 12. “This retreat from drilling policy demonstrates what we’ve shown before in the fight against fracking in Lafayette and Boulder County. Grassroots organizing and civil disobedience continue to achieve what the politicians say is impossible. The Climate Bill of Rights, which gives every Lafayette community member the right to a healthy climate and that bans drilling, remains the law of the land today. Corporate drilling policy has been pushed backwards by the people.”
East Boulder County United is leading an invigorated campaign to force a County vote on the Climate Bill of Rights now. The campaign just launched an online petition calling on Boulder County commissioners to place fracking and the right to a healthy climate to a direct vote of all Boulder County in November. The commissioners have maintained a position of deference to state and industry and have already enacted drilling rules at the county level.
“We know the long history of collaboration between the Democratic Party and the oil and gas industry and reject their attempts to bring fracking into Boulder County,” Commissioner candidate Cliff Willmeng said. “This collaboration has been disastrous for Colorado communities and the environment, and we will help bring Boulder County government back into alignment with the rights of the people and the immediate needs of the climate.”
After forcing drilling operations to a standstill in Boulder County in 2012 and championing the statewide struggle against corporate power, East Boulder County United continues to driving a defiant narrative to protect the climate and ecology in Colorado.