FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Press Statement, East Boulder County United, on City Moratorium and Regulating Fracking
October 3, 2017
Lafayette City Councilor Merrily Mazza
Lafayette resident Theresa Stets
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Open Letter to Lafayette City Council From East Boulder County United
Part III: Statement, Councilor Merrily Mazza
Part IV: Legal Statement on Moratorium and Climate Bill of Rights, Karen Breslin
PART I: INTRODUCTION
Tonight’s moratorium is a capitulation to oil and gas interests planning on drilling Lafayette, and in is written in direct opposition to the Climate Bill of Rights passed by the Lafayette City Council this year. The moratorium, which begins to process for establishing the conditions by which Lafayette will be drilled is based upon the Council majority’s intent to be, “…consistent with COGCC rules”. It is a non-starter, and in violation of current Lafayette law which prohibits the extraction of coal, oil and gas as a violation of the right of Lafayette community members described in the Climate Bill of Rights.
The Lafayette City Council initiated the moratorium in a meeting between city attorney David Williamson, Councilor Gustavo Reyna, and Colorado State Representative Mike Foote. Councilor Merrily Mazza was never made aware of the moratorium until it came in in the Daily Camera last week. Councilor Mazza is currently on a speaking tour with communities in Ohio facing oil and gas drilling and injection wells.
PART II: Open Letter to the Lafayette City Council, East Boulder County United
Councilor Merrily Mazza:
I'm in Ohio this week and unable to attend the meeting or participate remotely. I've asked someone to read my statement for me.
For five years, you and prior councils have reassured residents that Lafayette is safe from drilling. How many times have people heard: There hasn't been a well drilled in Lafayette in 24 years." These statements were wrong and East Boulder County United was right. We warned that the industry was moving west and would soon overrun eastern Boulder County. Here they are.
The people have said no--in 2013 by ballot initiative and again in March by pressing you to pass the Climate Bill of Rights. We had to take these steps because the industry and their minions in the Democratic and Republican parties have foreclosed any action that would restore our community's democratic right to simply say no.
Every former democratic governor supported and helped pass amendment 71 effectively barring any further state ballot initiatives. If we say no locally, the law allows the industry to threaten and attempt to bankrupt us with lawsuits.
And now some of you propose that a new savior governor will let us stop this onslaught if we just delay long enough and beef up our regulations. I hope you're not referring to Jared Polis who, in 2014, threw every fracking-threatened community under the bus in favor of an industry-run, do-nothing task force.
You, like are neighboring councils in Erie and Broomfield, are making a deal with the devil. And you tell us that's our only option.
It's time to walk with the people and not with the industry and the politicians and lawyers and the collaborators who tell us our only option is obedience. Obedience to corrupt laws that have stripped us our ability to simply say no.
I will not sacrifice my grandchildren's health and safety on the altar of industry profit or the sad hope that a politician will save us. Will you bet our families and children on that hope?
Council, the community members are not the enemy. Face the REAL enemy and restore the full, original Climate Bill of Rights.
PART IV: Legal Statement on Moratorium and Climate Bill of Rights, Karen Breslin
To: Colorado Community Rights Network
From: Karen Breslin, Esq.
Re: Lafayette Climate Bill of Rights
You have asked me to offer an assessment about whether Lafayette’s Climate Bill of Rights Ordinance No. 02, Series 2017, constitutes a ban on oil and gas activity within the city limits. I read the ordinance as prohibiting such activity, without the necessity for additional regulatory legislation. The ordinance asserts that Lafayette residents have “the right to be free from all activities within the City of Lafayette that interfere with the right to a healthy climate, including the extraction of coal, oil, or gas, disposal of drilling waste contaminated drinking water, lethal carcinogens, toxic gases and other byproducts of industrial activity which threaten human physical and neurological systems.”
The ordinance clearly states that oil and gas activity in Lafayette would violate the rights identified in, and protected by, the ordinance. Thus, any action by Lafayette that authorized oil and gas activities would violate the rights protected in the ordinance. An ordinance to place a moratorium on oil and gas drilling would create conflict in the municipal code. On the one hand, the Climate Bill of Rights Ordinance states unequivocally that oil and gas extraction violates the right of Lafayette residents to a healthy climate. A moratorium, however, raises the possibility of drilling at some point in the future, bringing into question whether the Climate Bill of Rights precludes such activity.
For this reason, a moratorium would, in my view, undermine the unequivocal prohibition against oil and gas activity contained in the Climate Bill of Rights. If you have any questions regarding this memorandum, please contact me at the number below.