(Re: “Can you hear us now?” DyerTimes, Dec. 6.) I was a part of the action at the Dec. 4 Boulder County commissioners meeting. Those of us who initiated the action did so because of the urgency and attention the issue of fracking in Boulder County needs. Citizens have gone to the county commissioners meetings, giving testimony and voicing concerns about fracking and its toxic by-products, only to be told that very little can be done. What is respectful or democratic about this process? We ask for a ban, and are told that there will be regulations. That is not a democratic process; that is a dictatorship. Why not put it to a vote of the people?
We were not there to drown out the voices of anyone else in the community. The only voice I am aware of was that was pro-fracking was that of Wendy Wiedenbeck, a paid employee of Encana there to represent the company’s interests and potential to profit greatly off of the shale Boulder County sits on. She is not a voice of the community. She is an industry mouthpiece sent to reassure the population that fracking can be done safely, while Encana’s track record would suggest otherwise.
We were there and did what we did because it is personally selfish to sit back and do nothing when there is so much at stake. I speak out on this issue because I have heard many stories of people who were so demoralized by trying to fight for their health and safety in the face of hydraulic fracturing that they stopped fighting. I am motivated by the stories of the people in Erie who were sold out by their city council and now sit in constant vigil of the impact fracking has and continues to have on their community. The City of Longmont went through the democratic process to ban fracking in their town and now face litigation from the oil and gas companies with support from Hickenlooper and the state. That is bullying and intimidation, not what we did at the Boulder County commissioners meeting.
I refuse to sit back and be polite when I think about the future my children will inherit if I don’t do something. It is like watching a bulldozer poised to raze my home with my children inside. So yes, I feel a sense of urgency and responsibility to step up and speak outside of an allotted threeminute time frame that will be largely ignored anyway. It will continue to happen until the issue of hydraulic fracturing can be dealt with in a truly democratic fashion that is decided by a vote of the people rather than concessions made out of fear of litigation.
Editor [Joel] Dyer is right that fracking is forever. Eastern Boulder and Weld counties are already a pincushion of 20,000 oil and gas wells. The fossil corps want to frack ‘em all, creating millions of ways for fracking poisons to get into our groundwater — and the ever-shrinking Ogallala Aquifer, which is keeping the heartland from becoming a dust bowl again during the current drought.
After Occupy Boulder relinquished control of the Dec. 4 county commissioners meeting, Commissioner [Cindy] Domenico started off by lecturing us on being democratic. Democracy means “government by the people.” That’s exactly what Longmont’s ballot initiative banning fracking is. We don’t have ballot initiatives in Boulder County, the real, direct democracy which Occupy has as both goal and strategy. We employ the commissioners to represent us. It’s clear from the 60-40 victory in Longmont, the most conservative part of the county, that the vast majority of us want fracking banned.
Instead, the commissioners have hired expensive consultants to tell them that they can’t represent the people, that they must bow to the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission, but they can prettify the damage by re-arranging the deck chairs on this titanic fossil fool’s errand. The commissioners have held three lengthy hearings packed with minutia about the rearrangement, apparently hoping to exhaust and distract citizens. Occupy short-circuited their performance piece for 30 minutes.
I suspect careerism on the part of the commissioners. They want to be “team players” so they can push their policy-purveying to new heights. So they “kiss up and shit down.” There’s no limit to their cravenness: They will sac rifice their own children. Scientists know that greenhouse gases being emitted now will keep the climate in catastrophic condition for 1,000 years, sealing the fate of 40 generations!
Sadly, at the commissioners’ Dec. 6 hearing they had three police instead of the usual one. Apparently the only way “our” representatives can deal with sovereign citizens is by militarization.
This was a banner year for ballot initiatives across the country, legalizing marijuana and gay marriage in several states and opposing fracking and the Citizens United decision, among others. Here’s the National Ballot Initiative News I send out: spryeye.blogspot.com/2012/11/national-ballot-initiative-news.html.
As mothers say, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” That’s what ballot initiatives are for. Accept no substitutes!