The fight to save our open space is here
Crestone Peak has announced plans to drill 216 wells in Boulder County.
8 North LLC (a subsidiary of Extraction Oil and Gas LLC) has taken the first steps to gain permission from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) for a permit to drill in two plots totaling nearly 4,000 acres in Boulder County including a 1,280 acre area between Arapahoe and Baseline roads in the Lafayette-Erie area.
We are now being told that this abomination will be done on our precious open spaces that we have spent $74 million of our tax dollars to buy with a pledge to protect and preserve.
Our county commissioners have issued a press release stating that they are “gravely concerned” about the plans while simultaneously repeating the tropes that their hands are tied and they have approved the best possible regulations to ensure community safety. That second part, coincidentally, is exactly what the oil and gas industry tells us in its constant barrage of paid advertisements.
It is far past time to acknowledge reality: We are under attack by oil and gas and our county commissioners have failed to protect us. It doesn’t really matter if that failure was by design or incompetence. They have failed and we need a new strategy if we are to survive with our air, land, and water qualities preserved and our property values intact. We need to act now if we are to fulfill our solemn duty to protect and preserve our land for future generations.
Our commissioners have repeatedly assured us that their county attorneys have advised them that we have no legal options. Perhaps it is time to turn to different legal advisors and to different leadership styles.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his famous letter from the Birmingham Jail:
“You may well ask, ‘Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?’ You are exactly right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue.”
Our commissioners have failed us because they refused to sound the alarm and help mobilize our community to action and instead have repeated for years that there is nothing that can be done and we should trust them to keep us safe.
Our commissioners have failed us because when County Attorney (former commissioner) Ben Pearlman told them there was no way to protect us from fracking they should have immediately sought other and better legal advice. As an attorney, I know that if the family of an innocent person goes to a defense attorney and is told to have their loved one plead guilty and go to jail, the intelligent family seeks a different attorney.
Our commissioners have failed us because for the past six years they have attempted to negotiate the terms of our surrender while assuring us that they were imposing the best possible regulations on oil and gas development.
As a political activist, I know that great injustice has almost always been supported by existing law and historically those unjust laws have only been overcome when challenged by desperate citizens with moral clarity and personal courage.
We, (almost) all of us, in Boulder County oppose fracking and know instinctively that it is wrong, dangerous and stupid. Yet here we are on the precipice of having it imposed upon us. Our water, land and air will be poisoned. Our property values will be decimated. Our health and the health of our children and grandchildren will be threatened. The lifestyle that brought us all here together to this place we cherish will be destroyed.
We have an election coming up to elect a new commissioner for District 3 and then in two years both of the other incumbents will be term-limited and replaced. It is not enough to ask candidates if they oppose fracking. The question that we must ask the candidates to answer should be what if anything will you do to stop fracking ?
In the wake of MLK Day, 2018, we must look for the courage and leadership that King showed when it was time to oppose the segregation and racial discrimination that was totally legal in the South 60 years ago.