How Progressive Is Boulder, Anyway? The May 21 Decision on Fracking Might Tell Us.
Fracking, the process of hydraulic fracturing for fossil fuels, has become a household term of late. Yet in many parts of the United States and potentially here in Boulder, Colorado, fracking’s consequences for our health, safety and environment are being brushed under the rug in favor of enormous short term profits for the oil and gas industry and their political allies.
That is why the citizens of Boulder are pleading for their county commissioners to make the right call when they decide on the future of fracking in Boulder on Tuesday May 21.
The buck has been passed to Elise Jones, Deb Gardner and Cindy Domenico. And while both Elise Jones and Deb Gardner have spoken against fracking in the past, their clear thinking on this subject seems to have been muddled by the attorneys who have been whispering in their ears recently: “A lawsuit awaits you if you refuse to allow fracking in Boulder…”
It has become clear that the Colorado legislature is not going to defend our commissioners. Neither is our governor who was once an oil and gas man himself and whose political campaigns have been financed largely by the industry. In fact, Mr. Hickenlooper has become a national poster-child for the oil and gas industry on the subject of fracking. He has appeared in ads for oil and gas and famously drank fracking fluid in a publicity stunt to demonstrate its “safety.” Ask the folks of Weld County, home to some 50,000 oil and gas wells, if their maligned health and flaming faucets are coincidental or directly related to the influx of fracking there.
That leaves us, the citizens of Boulder, to support our county commissioners and encourage them to extend the moratorium on fracking until adequate studies are released on its health and safety risks. As far as I’m concerned, we’re all in this fight together.
It’s not a partisan issue. Nor is it a matter of legality. As Boulder attorney Dan Leftwich explains in the video below, similar cases around the country have set the precedent that our commissioners can extend the moratorium on fracking in Boulder for as long as they’d like. The state of California recently extended their moratorium until further health and safety studies are released. And Karen Conduff reminds us in the below video that our neighbors in Longmont and Fort Collins and Colorado Springs have done the same.
This is an outstanding opportunity for Elise Jones, Deb Gardner and Cindy Domenico to show Boulder who they support: the environment and their constituency or oil and gas? A healthy future for Boulder or a process that is the first in the 4.5 billion year history of Earth to remove water from the natural water cycle, rendering that water useless forever?
If my memory serves, the drought and wildfires we have experienced in the past several years were due to record lows in precipitation. I can only imagine that these unfortunate conditions would grow worse if we were to poison our remaining water and thus extract it from the natural water cycle.
As 10 year Boulder resident Suzanne Spiegel reminds the commissioners in a recent hearing, they would not have assumed their positions in politics if not for courageous acts for women’s rights in decades past. Now is the time for our commissioners to take their stand. They could fall prey to the fear-mongering tactics of the world’s largest industry or they could represent those who voted them in.
Elise Jones, Deb Gardner and Cindy Domenico—please rise to the occasion for the people and our health and our environment and future generations to come. Thank you.
Rob Jackson is a documentary filmmaker based in Boulder, Colorado. In 2012, he co-produced and edited Streams of Consequence, a solution-based documentary on the rivers of Patagonia and the opportunity for Chile to be a world leader in renewable energy. More recently he edited the DVD Extras for Chasing Ice, the renowned Boulder documentary about climate change. Rob is currently working on educational yoga videos with Amy Ippoliti and 90 Monkeys and has a multitude of other projects brewing.
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