Public unrest lingered after commissioners’ on Tuesday announced their decision to uphold the current oil and gas moratorium in unincorporated boulder county. – By Natalia Bayona
Anti-fracking activists held signs at the front of the hearing room to share what would have been their oral testimonies.
KGNU’s Natalia Bayona spoke with political activist Jacquie Goeldner who’s joined the recent sit-ins outside the commissioners’ office.
Image: Jacquie Goeldner (left) and Martha McFurthen (right) listen as Boulder County Commissioners review and ratify the current moratorium on new oil and gas permits Tuesday, June 28 at the Boulder County Courthouse. They picketed the hearing, which did not allow for oral input from the public. (Photo/Natalia Bayona)
Jacquie Goeldner: I feel a little bit better today. I would like to think that they are honestly going to add these regulations and i am hoping that the state initiative will support adding anti-fracking to state law. And then if somebody wants to send us to the supreme court, fine. We perhaps will have three new judges after November. And perhaps then the united states can get on the right side of renewables and helping to slow down climate change, which is increasingly disastrous.
What would you like to see happen in November when they go and adjust the oil and gas regulations?
Goeldner: We need to know exactly what chemicals are going into the fracking liquids. We need to know exactly how many million gallons are used in each fracking. We need to have the examination of geological evidence connecting fracking with earthquakes.
And Goeldner says she won’t settle for anything less than complete transparency.
Goeldner: We’ve got to act. And if it calls for civil disobedience…i’m 84 years old and i had many wonderful experiences in my life and i will be happy to go to jail for this cause.
Another demonstrator Martha McFurthen with the rocky mountain peace and justice center argues locals can come together to ban fracking just like the people of New York.
Martha McFurthen: We’re just outraged by the fact that all of this effort that was placed into creating the moratorium for the fracking…and then the supreme court who’s basically a commodity of the oil and gas companies…that they’re just suddenly allowed to say all of that work, all of those legal hoops that we jump through are unjustified. My feeling is that if we made enough of a outraged recall of what’s going on it would create a momentum that would change this unjust law just like we’ve done in the past with women’s suffrage, with slavery. We need people of power to stand up and say we refuse to follow it.
But Goeldner’s and McFurthen’s views weren’t unanimous.
Goeldner: It’s the damn republicans who are responsible for many of the problems in this country.
Paul Danish: Well, yeah. And the democrats too. (laughs)
Goeldner: Well we need progressives for sure. (talking over Danish)
Paul Danish is running as a county commissioner for the Republican party this November. He says he showed up to the hearing in part to meet the activists.
Danish: To see where somebody is proposing to ban oil and gas production in the united states immediately when there is no alternative to it that’s going to be available for at least ten years…that strikes me as irresponsible beyond words.
One of the important points that is sort of missed in this is that most of the oil wells in boulder county are on county open space or on county conservation easements. So, Boulder County is in the oil and natural gas industry whether it likes it or not. And its partners are oil companies, whether it likes it or not. And when you’re in a business and your partner can do pretty much what he wants to do it’s probably not a good idea to get in a fight with your partner.
And i think that the general anti-industry, anti-drilling tone is not doing the county any good in terms of what the ultimate question of placement of wells and how the industry proceeds are. We’re much better off if the county can create a cooperative relationship with the people who hold those leases than if the industry says, “well, we’re just going to proceed with our four rights under state law and the hell with you.”
The moratorium is set to end on November 18th. Commissioners will then hold public hearings on their proposed updates to boulder county’s oil and gas regulations.