East Boulder County United has a mission to prevent oil and gas companies from fracking in the Boulder community. They frequently use nonviolent civil disobedience to gain the attention of local elected officials and to make their voices heard. Last week, the group hosted Standing Rock legal defender and Red Owl lawyer Angela Bibens at a public event on how to effectively use civil disobedience legally.
Bibens commended the organization for their efforts to protect themselves from the risk of police prosecution and violence.
“I think that this group has made some really good steps towards getting the legal bases covered. There are some attorneys, I understand, that are kind of forming a legal team to support the resistance effort, so that when people decide to take the kind of nonviolent direct action that they deem appropriate, that if they encounter police and are arrested, that there’s a plan for them to have some legal defense under those circumstances.”
She explained that fracking could cause a number of environmental problems around Boulder including man-made earthquakes and seepage of contaminated frack water. Bibens expressed concern about the large population these issues could impact.
In her words, “certainly every aspect of life as we know it would be impacted if this goes through.”
Cliff Willmeng organized the event. He spoke about the unique approach East Boulder County United is taking in fighting oil and gas companies.
“Most communities are encouraged to develop a negotiation about the terms by which they are drilled whereas Lafayette and East Boulder County United and the Boulder County Protectors have taken the position that oil and gas drilling are a violation of our fundamental rights. So we’re fighting this on a much different basis than a purely regulatory approach, which of course leads us into questions of candidates and civil disobedience and strategies that look a lot more like a movement than your standard lobbying effort.”
He thanked the Boulder community for their support of the group’s efforts.
“I think we owe them a great debt of gratitude, both as fellow community members, and in the case of myself as a parent. I want to thank them as a dad; these are my kids they’re protecting.”
East Boulder County United has three active chapters in Lafayette, Boulder, and Longmont. To learn more about the group, find them on Facebook or at eastbocounited.org.