Boulder County Government Official Begins Sanctions Against Community Member For Protesting Impending Oil and Gas Drilling
On November 7th, 2017 David Paul, a member of the Boulder County Protectors, while engaging in peaceful protest, was issued a summons for trespassing (5-4-3) by the City of Boulder police at the behest of Boulder County Attorney Ben Pearlman. Mr. Paul, a resident of Boulder County, was participating in a direct action outside an anniversary event for Boulder’s Open Space by projecting a “Ban Fracking” message on the Boulder County Courthouse—a warning to the public that Boulder County’s open space is now under threat from oil and gas drilling.
Mr. Paul, raising civil rights violations, has retained David Lane and Andrew McNulty of Killmer, Lane & Newman LLP (Denver) to defend him for the trespassing charge. Mr. Paul’s attorneys have filed a MOTION TO DISMISS on the pending criminal charge, stating that he did not violate the Boulder Municipal Code and because his continued prosecution violates his First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution; and under Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution. (Read the Motion to Dismiss here: https://tinyurl.com/y9eu2lvs)
The disposition hearing for Mr. Paul’s trespassing charge is December 11, 2017 at 1pm at the Boulder Municipal Court, 1777 6th St, Boulder. Following the hearing Mr. Paul, his attorneys, and members of the Boulder County Protectors will hold a press conference in front of the municipal court building and are expected to discuss civil rights implications raised by the trespassing summons.
The actions of the Boulder County Attorney and the Boulder municipal government foreshadow that harsher sanctions are likely as oil and gas operations become a deadly reality in Boulder County. Political officials loyal to the drilling process are finding themselves in increasing conflict with both public demands and the needs of the climate and environment. Office holders and staff committed to the enforcement of state drilling laws on behalf of operators like Extraction, Crestone and Anadarko are now entering the beginning stages of repressing the growing public intent to protect Boulder County from drilling.
The Boulder County Protectors are calling on the Boulder County Commissioners to represent the citizens who put them in office, rather than the oil and gas industry. We expect them to: Stop all plans to begin drilling in Boulder County. End scientifically misleading statements that fracking can be made safe. Join with community members to protect the environment and fundamental rights of all Boulder County citizens. Enact the Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights and Protections (Read the Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights and Protections here: https://tinyurl.com/ya7enfao).
East Boulder County United and the Boulder County Protectors stand firmly behind the actions of Mr. Paul. We will continue to protect the County from the lethal dangers of fossil fuel extraction and will defend all individuals exercising their rights to freedom of speech political dissent at this critical time.
The City of Boulder needs to drop all charges against David Paul and affirm its commitment to preserve the fundamental rights of people to political dissent. In addition, we are calling on the Boulder County Commissioners to issue a public statement condemning the actions of County Attorney Ben Pearlman, and committing publicly to standing with the community in every capacity against the oil and gas industry.