Yet another sham attempt to ban fracking in Boulder County!
This week, the Boulder Fracking Ban Coalition (350 Colorado, Clean Energy Action, Colorado Rising, and The Lookout Alliance) wrote a measure to put a fracking ban on the November 2020 election. The coalition spent time putting together the ballot language and gathering signatures, all at the suggestion of Commissioner Elise Jones.
While they were finishing up a Zoom meeting with Commissioner Matt Jones, the Boulder County Commissioners sent out an email “declining to put such a measure on this year’s ballot” before the coalition had even sent their formal request. In their pre-emptive strike against the request, the Commissioners 3 (Deb Gardner, Elise Jones, Matt Jones), in lockstep with each other, referenced a pending court case as one of their reasons for denying the coalition’s request. The case “is challenging the Colorado Supreme Court’s 2016 decision that Longmont could not ban fracking to see if that legal precedent has changed as a result of Senate Bill 19-181. We believe it is in Boulder County’s best interest to wait for the outcome of that case before considering our own ban, however, it might get enacted. Until the courts decide the legal issues, we are working extremely hard on amendments to our local oil and gas regulations and on the new rules underway at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Air Quality Control Commission,” said the joint statement from the Commissioners. The Commissioners also referenced their recently extended moratorium on accepting new oil and gas permit applications through December 31st, saying, “regardless of what comes after that, we will have built significant new protections at the local and the state level.”
Ultimately, what these “new protections” will lead to is a proliferation of legalized harm in the form of new oil and gas activity within Boulder County’s borders.
We applaud the call for a full ban which has been our position from the beginning and stated in our rallying cry: No Drills. No Compromise. But this proposal by the Boulder Fracking Ban Coalition missed the core of the issue and would have been, in fact, a WIN for the oil and gas industry.
The measure would have extorted the very people who are suffering from the harms of fracking.
Rather than asking the people of Boulder County to assume the social and environmental costs of past, present and future oil and gas development and pay the oil and gas industry and its government minions (including the Boulder County Commissioners) to stop harming people, their communities and the environment, these special interests should be immediately removed and held accountable, fully, for all the damage they have caused to Nature and society.
If it passed, the taxpayers would be funding the oil and gas industry’s clean up and withdrawal. It is a CRIME to ask taxpayers to clean up their mess.
Mineral rights owners along with the oil and gas industry have long threatened to force communities to pay them off if they pass a ban.
Most tax increases proposed during a pandemic/recession/depression are doomed to fail. The public will not likely support paying more taxes right now regardless of what it is for and “sources” will claim there is no political will for a ban.
This ban would not restore air and climate damage.
It would not address the issue of chemical trespass from Weld County.
It did not address the offender's violations of the inalienable rights of human and natural communities to clean air, water, and earth and self-determination through self-governance.
The subtext of this proposal submits to threats from the oil and gas industry and those who support it. It exposes the very nature of the current legal system that protects the rights of these “property owners” while violating the inalienable rights of human and natural communities to clean air, water, land, and self-determination through self-governance.
What this failed attempt should show us is that we want a state ballot initiative:
to ban fracking without any burden on the taxpayer, and,
to change the constitutional and statutory legal structure currently governing our communities to one which is based upon a Community Rights-based viewpoint – a stand that cannot be preempted by our corrupt local, state or national-level judicial, legislative, and executive government.
We must codify into law the right to local, community self-government, enabling local governments to protect fundamental rights and prohibit corporate activities that violate those rights.
The following is from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to illustrate our position:
How does a community lose its voice?
State and Federal Preemption – There are laws that allow large corporations to force harmful activities into communities – despite community opposition.
Corporate Privilege – Our structure of law elevates corporate decision-making over community decision-making. Corporations have court-conferred constitutional “rights.” They wield these “rights” against communities to eliminate local efforts that may interfere with industry plans to expand their operations, regardless of the impact to communities and nature.
The Regulatory Fallacy – Agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Labor Relations Board, and the Minerals Management Agency do not actually protect us. Rather, they regulate the amount of harm that is inflicted on our communities.
Nature as Property – Our legal system grants landowners the right to damage the environment, even though the entire community carries the impact.
Learn more about Community Rights.