O n Tuesday, the Boulder County Commissioners are having a public hearing on whether to extend their moratorium (scheduled to end in February 2013) on the granting of permits for oil and gas hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") in the County. The hearing starts at 4 p.m. on the third floor of the Boulder County Courthouse on Pearl Street between 13th and 14th streets.
According to the Boulder County Citizens for Community Rights (bococcr.org), "Fracking is the high pressure pumping of a chemical slurry into the ground, shattering shale to release oil and gas."
At recent County hearings, citizens have presented dozens of reasons why fracking should be banned. On Nov. 6, Longmont voters amended their city charter to ban fracking. The County Commissioners, fearful of lawsuits from the state, have said they will not pass a ban, but will try to regulate fracking. However, regulation hasn't worked around the county, according to reports at foodandwaterwatch.org.
The Boulder County Commissioners must be bold and ban fracking altogether, regardless of fear of state lawsuits.
Fracking endangers the public heath, air and environment. Chemicals used in fracking cause cancer, immune and endocrine disorders, and many other illnesses, according to Dr. Theo Colborn's reports at endocrinedisruption.org. If we pollute our air, water and soil, we destroy essential elements for healthy and happy lives.
The State of Colorado, which claims to pre-empt local governments, cannot be trusted on this issue. Instead of protecting us, the state government works hand in glove with the oil and gas industry. To add insult to injury, the state sues communities that try to protect its people from fracking's pernicious effects. (The Denver Post reported in July that the state was gearing up to sue Longmont over the fracking ban.)
The first responsibility of the Boulder County Commissioners is to the people of Boulder County, and to future generations that will live here, not to the state. The Colorado Constitution clearly states that final governing authority rests with the people, not with the state government or with the oil and gas industry.
Come to the hearing on Tuesday and speak. Write to the commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ask them to put a referendum on the ballot for home rule. Ask them to stand up to illegitimate state authority and to ban fracking altogether.
You can also attend "Be the Change, Jamming for a Frack Free Colorado!" on Sunday from 3-5 p.m. at the Boulder Unity Church, 2855 Folsom St, Boulder.
Carolyn Bninski is on the staff of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center.