Ballot Measures Submitted to Protect Against Run-Away Fracking
Multiple ballot initiatives submitted by grassroots organization challenge industrial oil and gas development near homes, neighborhoods, schools, and water resources.
Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED) announced today that it submitted a range of ballot measures aimed at protecting homes, neighborhoods, schools, and water supplies from the dangers associated with fracking operations. This is the first step in a legal process that will allow Coloradans to protect themselves from the oil and gas industry’s ability to drill and place heavy industrial development almost anywhere it wants, endangering human health and polluting our air, water and land.
The constitutional measures submitted include four basic principles:
- guarantee local governments the ability to better protect their communities if they choose to do so, knowing that “one size doesn’t fit all;”
- increase the setback from oil and gas wells or facilities to homes, based on health risks and the perimeters of real world explosions and fires;
- establish the right for Coloradans to a healthy environment; and
- ban the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).
The ballot measures are a direct response to the failure of state government to adequately protect Colorado’s public health, safety and welfare. Despite claims that Colorado’s rules are the strongest in the country, in fact, they are not. Inspections are inadequate; variances are granted liberally; enforcement is handled poorly; and violations have minimal consequences.
When Colorado cities passed local measures that serve their communities, they found themselves sued by the oil and gas industry with the support of the Colorado state government. When local governments considered restricting the industry to better protect their communities, they too were threatened with lawsuits. A “blue ribbon” task force appointed by the Governor did not resolve any of the conflicts between local and state governments, and any meaningful recommendations by the task force were either discarded or ignored.
“If the state will not adequately protect Coloradans and communities, then we, the people of Colorado, must do it, and that requires a change to Colorado law. Our beautiful state should not be overwhelmed by wells, pads, and other industrial oil and gas operations plunked down next to neighborhoods and schools,” said Tricia Olson, Executive Director of CREED.
Leaders of impacted communities understand the need for a change to Colorado law:
“Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont elected to amend its charter, the city’s equivalent to a constitution, to insure that the city council could not negate the will of the people of Longmont,” said Kaye Fissinger, President. “For the same reason, the Colorado Constitution needs to be amended to prevent future government bodies and officials from disregarding the inalienable rights of natural persons to health, safety and happiness.”
“The oil and gas industry and the state would like us to maintain business as usual. However, Colorado, as elsewhere, is being destroyed by outsiders under the guise that it is ‘good for us.’ The research is in. It is not good for us – for our health or for our economic well-being. I am expected to sacrifice my family and my home’s value for a fuel source that will be shipped elsewhere for some investor’s profit. Our leaders are failing us, and the ability to run citizen initiatives is there to use when our leaders fail us. CREED’s ballot initiatives represent positive change,” says Sharon J. Carlisle, President of PROTECT OUR LOVELAND.
“Fracking hurts our children, our quality of life and our climate,” said Lauren Swain, fracking issue specialist for 350 Colorado. “Releases of air toxins, ozone-precursors, and methane from fracking operations compromise our health, our air quality, and our future climate. It’s time to protect Colorado communities from these risks, and work to transition our state to a 100% renewable energy future.”
Click here for the full list: Initiatives Submitted for Review and Comment
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