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Fracking and Community Rights in Boulder County

Posted: December 2, 2016 at 4:48 pm by , in Breaking News, Featured, Morning Magazine

“The ability of the state to pre-empt and override local decision making, that’s what needs to be changed.” — Thomas Linzey, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

The Community Rights Movement has established itself nationwide as a way to create a structure of law and government that recognizes and protects the inalienable rights of natural and human communities. Here in Colorado, the Community Rights Movement has emerged in response to state preemption of local control of activities like fracking. Earlier this year the Colorado Supreme Court overturned a voter approved fracking ban in Longmont.

Thomas Linzey, Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, says what’s needed is a complete paradigm shift and a move away from current laws and regulations that allow such pre emption.

“When we talk about legal ways to do something we’re automatically putting ourselves voluntarily into the box that’s been created for us.“

Linzey says the only solution for communities who are trying to control activities like fracking, is to actually change the system of law.

“The ability of the state to pre-empt and override local decision making, that’s what needs to be changed.”

Linzey will join Cliff Willmeng of the Colorado Community Rights Network and a community organizer for East Boulder County at an event in Lafayette on Saturday December 3rd.

Willmeng says the goal of the forum is to engage the wider community on different strategies for regulating fracking in the county.

“We are going to have to have a conversation in this community about what we want to see Boulder County look like in five years and we are going to have to enforce that through our own physical presence at every stage.”

On November 15th the Boulder County Commissioners voted to extend the current moratorium on oil and gas permits in unincorporated parts of the county until January 31st 2017. The temporary emergency moratorium is to give county staff time to start studying and preparing possible additions to the latest draft version of updated oil and gas development regulations the commissioners want in place before they start accepting applications for drilling oil and gas wells. But Linzey says that the entire process around oil and gas regulations is broken and that communities need to take back their rights to make decisions about activities like fracking.

“You can’t find a loophole, you can’t go around it, you can’t go under it you’ve got to go over it and you actually have to create something new . So all this comes down to who the people of Boulder County think that they are. Do they think they’re capable of actually taking a stand in a way that doesn’t ask “what’s legal for us to do, but what do we actually need here and how do we actually attain that?””

Cliff Willmeng says a deep broadened grass roots campaign is needed in Boulder County to help redefine current laws on oil and gas regulation.

“Civil disobedience and direct action will have to be a part of that because at some point the oil and gas industry will attempt to maneuver a drill into Boulder County and the way we view that is what allows them to do that is a law that is fundamentally immoral and illegitimate and has absolutely no basis in the good of the common community.”

 

 

Cliff Willmeng and Thomas Linzey will present a forum on community rights on Saturday, December 3, 3:00 – 4:45pm at the Lafayette Public Library 775 W. Baseline Rd.
The presentation is free to the public