News: #BoulderStrong resource center, oil and gas bill, and ACLU initiative

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Courtesy BSRC

#BoulderStrong Resource Center moves, supports Arvada community too

On Saturday, June 19, the #BoulderStrong Resource Center opened in its permanent location to continue to support the King Soopers associates who were at work, the shoppers who were in the store, other employees and shoppers in the Table Mesa area, the families of the victims, and those in the Boulder community who continue to be impacted by the March shooting. 

It is also open to members of the Arvada community, following a shooting in Old Town on Monday, June 21, that resulted in the deaths of three people — a police officer, the shooter, and a “good Samaritan.” 

 “This all has really impacted the overall community,” says Kate Parker, vice president of clinical care for Mental Health Partners (MHP), which is helping run the Resource Center alongside King Soopers and numerous other organizations contributing funding to support operations. “It’s a place to heal, it’s a place to get comfort.” 

The Resource Center offers a welcoming and safe space, Parker says, with massage, acupuncture, comfort dogs and clinical support. (Therapy services aren’t offered on site, however.) 

She says that news of the Arvada shooting could also elicit trauma responses in those impacted by the Boulder shooting — fear, anger, sadness, etc. Some people may want to talk and others may want a quiet place to meditate. Still others may like the idea of movement to get endorphins flowing and recall good memories, like going on a hike or doing yoga, she says.  

“You don’t have to tell your story,” Parker says. “You can just come in and be too, if that’s something that would help you heal.”

The Resource Center moved from its original, temporary location in the Table Mesa Shopping Center to 2935 Baseline, next to the old Denny’s. It is open every day but Sundays and is expected to stay open for the foreseeable future, focusing on maintaining long-term, trauma-based programs.

“It’s important to give each other grace and space to process through all of this,” Parker says. “It is OK to ask for help, and help doesn’t have to be counseling, help can be a lot of different things.” 

Bennet introduces oil and gas reform bill

On Tuesday, June 22, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet reintroduced federal legislation to fund the clean-up of oil and gas wells abandoned by owners who either have gone bankrupt or who can no longer be identified. The remediation fund created by The Oil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation Act would create jobs with $3 billion dedicated to cleaning up orphaned wells — including wells, pads, roads and impacted habitat — on state, federal, tribal and private lands. It would also establish a long-term program with additional funding. The bill also includes a provision that would strengthen federal bonding rules to ensure companies pay for the clean-up of their wells in the future should they go bankrupt.

“There are more than 57,000 orphaned wells across the nation which threaten wildlife habitat, clean air and water, and human health,” Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation, said in a press release. “Senator Bennet’s bill will clean up these toxic sites and reform the antiquated bonding system so that in the future, oil and gas companies will have to pay for the cleanup — not the American taxpayer.” 

On the same day, Bennet also reintroduced The Public Engagement Opportunity on Public Land Exploration (PEOPLE) Act to expand opportunities for local input in mineral lease sales on public lands. The Colorado Senator first introduced both bills in 2020; neither made it out of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. 

“Together, these bills will reduce methane emissions — which is the fastest way to protect our climate, restore wildlife habitat and create good-paying jobs,” Bennet said in a statement. Both bills enjoy broad support across Colorado, from Western Slope farmers and ranchers to conservationists and county commissioners statewide, including Boulder County.  

ACLU launches statewide Expanding the Table for Justice initiative

Under the direction of new leadership, the ACLU of Colorado is embarking on a 60-day community listening tour of Colorado beginning in July. Led by the organization’s new executive director, Deborah Richardson, the Expanding the Table for Justice initiative will connect with advocacy groups, community leaders, policymakers and individuals to learn how the ACLU of Colorado can better support and engage the community, especially when it comes to the civil liberties issues that matter most. The interactive discussions and listening sessions will cover such topics as: criminal legal reform, disability rights, homelessness, immigrants’ rights, Indigenous justice, LGBTQ+ rights, multifaith issues, racial justice, reproductive rights, voting rights and more. 

“My agenda is transparent,” Richardson said in a press release. “The ACLU of Colorado will transform, in warp speed, to align with our stated values of being for the people and of the people. And the first step along this journey is active collaborations with all communities.” 

Registration is required: aclu-co.org/expanding-the-table-for-justice