Boulder County as a whole needs to follow the example of Longmont and pass a ban on fracking throughout the entire county. Article 2, Section 3 of the Colorado Constitution states: “Section 3. Inalienable rights. All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.” (emphasis added).
We citizens are seeking to protect our community and our environment from the toxic and lethal effects of this vastly underregulated industrial activity. To those property owners who protest that they have a right to exercise their mineral rights, and lease their property to the gas companies, I say this: you do not have the right to poison your neighbors’ land, to sicken them, their children and their animals, nor to lower their property values, just to enrich yourselves (and potentially poison yourselves and your property in the process). The total costs that society and the environment would have to endure if such individuals allow fracking on their property, is why this precedent exists in environmental law, and has been dramatically applied in the past, from the halting of the Storm King Mountain power plant in 1965 to the Love Canal disaster in the 1970s.
Gov. Hickenlooper and the COGCC are on the wrong side of public opinion on this issue. They had best realize which way the political wind is blowing, and realize that forcing their will, and the will of the giant oil and gas companies behind them, is only going to work against them in the end. The way fracking is being pursued is wrong, both morally and environmentally. The Halliburton Loophole that exempts fracking from environmental regulation was achieved by political subterfuge, and the day is surely coming when the American people nationwide will recognize this, demand it be closed and have fracking regulated by the EPA, if it is not banned outright. We should be building the infrastructure for a sustainable future, and stop investing in this suicidal direction, which only worsens the eventual consequences of global climate change.
Our Colorado Constitution states all individuals have “the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.” Congratulations, Longmont, for doing just this in voting Yes on Question 300!
Humans cannot survive without clean air and water, and no amount of money is worth trading these basic needs.
Fracking violates our constitutional rights by endangering our health, water and air. The state is squashing our rights by allowing fracking next to schools, hospitals, churches, parks and homes. Municipal government grants home-rule cities the authority to regulate land use, ensuring protection of the environment in a manner consistent with Constitutional rights. The COGCC has been seeking a court ruling on complete preemption of municipal control for years, intending to dissuade Colorado citizens from asserting their constitutional rights. Neither the courts nor the COGCC have adequately addressed the Oil and Gas Act’s legislative mandate to “foster the responsible, balanced development, production, and utilization of the natural resources of oil and gas in the state of Colorado in a manner consistent with protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources.”
Our community right to defend our environmental quality should supersede any oil and gas development the state, Hickenlooper or the COGCC wants.
Now, it’s time to follow Longmont’s lead and assert our fundamental right to a clean and safe environment. We need to stop allowing the COGCC to tell us legal precedent “preempts” local citizens’ rights.
Editor’s note: The following is an open letter to the Boulder County commissioners.
Despite the overwhelming body of evidence that shows fracking poses serious health consequences to people living in the vicinity of well sites, nonetheless you’ve decided against extending the moratorium on oil and gas drilling within Boulder County.
You were elected to represent county residents and protect our air, water, quality of life and property values. Instead of standing up for your constituents, you fold to the money and political pressure of the state-supported oil and gas industry. This is gross negligence of the responsibilities of your position. People came out en masse to oppose regulations being considered, and your advisory board has overwhelmingly recommended a continued moratorium, yet you choose to ignore facts and recommendations and put profits over people. No one in Boulder County wants heavy industry setting up shop next to our homes or schools beside people employed by the industry or profitting from it. Your claim to be environmentally conscious but not to extend the moratorium is outright hypocrisy. Please remember, it is the people of Boulder County who you serve and not the oil and gas industry.
Save the dolphins
I want to commend your publication for carrying such informative articles. I notice that articles written by Elizabeth Miller seem to bring up subjects little known to most and yet manages to open our eyes, time and time again!
And, in reference to Miller’s article “Blue Colorado” (cover story, June 14) Dr. Connie Sanchez wrote a letter, and I am responding.
I found the article written by Sanchez on “Save the Dolphins” (letters, Aug. 16) to be extremely interesting and informing at the same time.
Who even knew that the slaughter of dolphins was still going on? I thought that after The Cove was seen around the world, the dolphin hunters would have stopped their miserable treatment of dolphins. Sad to learn the reality of the situation. I just wish there was something that we Coloradans could do to to end that horrible torture.
One thing that I did is go to that Dolphin Day rally in downtown Denver on Aug. 31 to let them know that I will stand up for the dolphins.