Class Action moves forward with Notice of Intent

Sign the petition

The COLORADO OIL & GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION (COGCC) statutes illegally altered the Colorado Constitution @ ART. V, Sec. 35, ART. XX, Sec. 6 without the “Consent of the Governed”. Therefore, Governor Hickenlooper and the Colorado General Assembly have violated their Constitutional Oaths and must convene a special Constitutional Convention to remedy the unconstitutional COLORADO OIL & GAS CONSERVATION COMMISSION statutes.

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Governor Hickenlooper

Governor Hickenlooper

On Friday (9/20), Governor Hickenlooper and Attorney General John Suthers received a “formal Notice of Intent to initiate a Federal Class Action against Governor John W. Hickenlooper in the Federal District Court of Colorado.”

The basis of the Federal Class Action lawsuit is that the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) statutes illegally altered the Colorado Constitution @ ART. V, Sec. 35, ART. XX, Sec. 6 without the Consent of the Governed, thereby rendering the COGCC authority and Governor’s enforcement of that authority as unconstitutional.

Attorney General John Suthers

Attorney General John Suthers

DRAFT: Federal Class Action Complaint Constitutional – Controversy

nita Sherman is the Lead Representative Plaintiff representing the citizens of Colorado.

When asked about the purpose of the Notice of Intent, Sherman said, “Within our legal system, due process demands a formal written notice be presented to a defendant by the plaintiff before the actual filing of court documents. This due process requirement on the part of the Plaintiff Class was fulfilled today [September 20].”

Lawsuit would challenge COGCC’s constitutionality

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A planned class action lawsuit is being prepared by two local critics of the oil and gas industry, who hope to challenge the constitutionality of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

The two, former oil and gas industry employee Carl McWilliams of Silt and political activist Anita Sherman of Glenwood Springs, on Friday submitted to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers and Daniel Domenico, the state’s solicitor general, a formal “Notice of Intent” to file a federal class action suit against Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, alleging that the statutes creating the COGCC are in violation of the Colorado Constitution and the U.S. Constitution …

… The draft text of the suit cites a 1992 Colorado Supreme Court finding that the City of Greeley could not legally prevent oil and gas exploration within the city’s boundaries, even though the city’s electorate had approved an ordinance banning such industry activities.

By ruling that the COGCC’s rules and regulations took precedence over the rights of the electorate of a home rule city, as Greeley was and is, the draft lawsuit argues, the court failed to uphold a basic tenet of constitutional law.

That tenet, according to the draft lawsuit, holds that citizens of the state and the country have “inalienable” right to vote on and make decisions about issues facing their communities, and that the ruling by the Supreme Court essentially invalidates that right in favor of the needs of the oil and gas industry.

The Supreme Court, according to the suit, has effectively acted to rescind the rights and powers of home rule communities, and put the COGCC’s powers above those of the electorate …

… “As stated in the working draft this is a citizens federal class action by “We the People of Colorado” for federal court Judicial Review of the COLORADO OIL & GAS CONSERVATION ACT which created the COGCC,” she continued. “Dozens of concerned citizens are pledging and donating money to have their names on this historic federal class action lawsuit,” wrote Sherman in an email.

Greeley did not pursue their challenge

According to Sherman, the 1992 Lundvall Bros V. Voss — City of Greeley is the most cited case regarding the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the rights and privileges of a home rule city or town as found under Colorado Constitution, ART. XX, Sec. 6.

Colorado Court of Appeals Decision: Lundvall Bros V. Voss — City of Greeley

Sherman added, “Now with the home rule City of Longmont in their legal battle with the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA) and joinder by the COGCC, VOSS is once again being actively mentioned within certain legal circles of Colorado.”

Section III of the decision acknowledges the City of Greeley’s claim that the COGCC’s authority is unconstitutional but points out that the matter is out of the Court’s jurisdiction.

The City last asserts that if the Oil and Gas Conservation Act is interpreted as preempting the field of oil and gas regulation, the statutory delegation of this authority within a home rule city is unconstitutional.
Because we are without jurisdiction to address the question of facial constitutionality of a statute, we do not consider this argument.

It was almost as if Judge Ney, who wrote the opinion, was holding up an arrow to point them in the direction of a higher court. So why didn’t the City of Greeley pursue the constitutionality of the COGCC? Researchers for the current Draft Complaint report they have been so far unable to determine why the City of Greeley did not pursue the constitutionality question in federal court.

Nonetheless, the City of Greeley’s assertion of the COGCC’s unconstitutionality and the Court’s acknowledgement of that assertion have created the context for the citizens of Colorado to bring the question to the proper venue.

Regarding the premise of the Class Action, Anita Sherman said, “Several attorneys inside and outside the state have reviewed the Draft Complaint. Thus far no one has questioned its validity.”

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4 Comments on “Class Action moves forward with Notice of Intent”

  1. Jeanne Huyser Says:

    My most deepest wish is that the public will finally rise up and say “enough is enough”. We MUST demand accountability from the officials and legislators we put in office. State, Federal, Supreme Courts……I hope we find ourselves working our way through all of these courts and using the associated publicity to put the welfare of the people and this amazing country ahead of the welfare of the gas companies, politicians, and lawyers riding their coat tails. We seem to care so little about what is at stake and I find it difficult to comprehend.

  2. Marsha Miller Says:

    Brilliant work. The corporate culture has far too long become accustomed to roping the people into thinking that they, because they buy off our government, are the law. But the people truly remain the law. Perhaps the Supreme Court too believes it is above the law of the people. Another time, another government thought so too, on this very soil. The COGCC/COGA/Hickenlooper/Oil & Gas corporatocracy is a disgrace to the hard-working citizens of Colorado who have invested their lives, property, health, family well-being and businesses in the stake that we can keep Colorado a healthy and beautiful place to live. But not with gas wells on our property, close to our children’s schools and playgrounds, whose developing lungs are so vulnerable to respiratory issues. Not with our families breathing in the toxins off-gased from the wells. The people are simply doing as the Constitution commands-addressing our grievances until we reform laws.

  3. Carl Mc Williams Says:

    Thank you Peggy for posting this Blog:

    After reading this Blog, if you desire to participate in this Class Action; please sign this Petition:

    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/the-colorado-oil-gas

    Your email address will be held confidential and you will receive updates as the Class Action moves forward and also opportunities on how you may assist in the forthcoming federal litigation against the unconstitutional Colorado Oil & Gas Commission beast.

    Please be cognizant: This Federal Class Action in Colorado will establish “controlling-precedent” nationwide. Which means citizens of other states, such as New York, Pennsylvania and California will be able to initiate their own Federal Class Actions, (based upon what happens in Colorado) to reestablish the “Constitutional Rule of Law” within their state boundaries as well. Therefore, signing the Petition will greatly assist our efforts in Colorado.

    Also, please forward this Peggy Tibbetts Blog to others and ask them to sign the Petition.

    Thank you,

    Carl L. McWilliams
    Lead Representative Plaintiff
    WE THE PEOPLE OF COLORADO, PLAINTIFFS
    V.
    GOVERNOR JOHN W. HICKENLOOPER, DEFENDANT
    A Federal Class Action-Constitutional Controversy “under construction”
    F.R.C.P. #23, 28 U.S.C., Sec. 1331

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