“Do the moral thing, the thing that will protect people’s health and safety, even if it means litigation against the state.” — Dan Leftwich.
On March 14th, the Boulder County Commissioners held a hearing about proposed requirements for oil and gas applications. The current moratorium in place will expire in May and the county is seeking to implement new regulations ahead of that expiration.
The Colorado Supreme Court has already struck down voter approved fracking bans in Longmont and Fort Collins.
The state attorney general’s office is currently suing Boulder county over its most recent moratorium. The county is fighting the suit.
Around 50 people testified in front of the County Commissioners on Tuesday, the vast majority of people asking the county to extend the moratorium. Two attorneys, one representing the state’s attorney general office and one representing a group representing the oil and gas industry, also testified, telling the commissioners that parts of the proposed regulations exceed the county’s legal authority.
Ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, people gathered outside the courthouse in support of the moratorium.
Micah Parkin, Executive Director of 350.org Colorado, an environmental protection organization, told KGNU’s Julia Caulfield that people are calling for a permanent moratorium because of the impact on human health and the environment. “We know that fracking is detrimental to our health, to our children’s health. It’s very detrimental to our global climate, the methane releases directly into the atmosphere from fracking operations (it) is actually worse than burning coal because the methane is such a powerful greenhouse gas. It has the potential to undermine all the efforts that we’ve been making at the county level and at the city level to address climate change and to reduce green house emissions.”
Doug Good Feather, a Lakota from Standing Rock who now lives in Colorado, who leads Spirit Horse Nation, a global network of environmentalists, says that people in Boulder County must fight corporate influence over our communities. “We’ve got to continue to fight, we’ve got to get the word out, we got to educate people about why we’re doing this, how important it is. We need to do that. We have to do that as a community, as a people, as a nation. And we elect these people to protect us, to represent us. Instead, corporations come and defy that protection, defy that responsibility to their communities and their children and put corporations first.”
Dan Leftwich, founder of Mind Drive Legal Services, is an attorney helping communities pass initiatives to defend the environment. He says he hopes the Boulder County Commissioners will take a stand over fracking regulations. “The bottom line is these times require bold action, they require people to step out of their comfort zones and what they can map out and say “oh we can do this and we can’t do that,” and just do the right thing. Do the moral thing, the thing that will protect people’s health and safety, even if it means litigation against the state.”