Holding signs with messages such as “Don’t frack with our air” and “Frack off,” 55 members of environmental groups that support Longmont’s and Fort Collins’ efforts to limit fracking within city limits rallied outside the Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday ahead of oral arguments in the cities’ ongoing legal cases.
Leaders from The Sierra Club; Food and Water Watch; Earthworks; and Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont spoke to members of the media gathered at the event.
Longmont voters added a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to the city charter in 2012, and the city was sued by industry group Colorado Oil and Gas Association and later by TOP Operating and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency. The ban was overturned in district court in 2014 with a summary judgment. The city appealed, and the ban is in place while the appeal is adjudicated.
Fort Collins voters enacted a five-year fracking moratorium in 2013, and the city was sued by Colorado Oil and Gas Association, had the measure overturned in district court and chose to appeal. The Colorado Court of Appeals, in September, asked the Colorado Supreme Court to weigh in on the cases.
All four of the environmental groups represented at the rally are party to the Longmont case currently before the Colorado Supreme Court because they signed on as citizen intervenors in support of the city’s ban.
Kaye Fissinger, president of Our Longmont, spoke at the rally, saying that the ill effects of fracking on people’s health is a nonpartisan issue.
“We are very serious about not having fracking,”said Fissinger, a Longmont resident. “I’m worried about my children, my grandchildren and, in my case, my great grandchildren.”
Fissinger said she was asking the Colorado Supreme Court justices, as a two-time cancer survivor, to send the Longmont case back to Boulder District Court so there could be a full evidentiary hearing.
“On behalf of all at-risk people, I don’t want them drilling in my city,” Fissinger told the Times-Call.
Will Walters, the chair of the Sierra Club Rocky Mountain Chapter, said that Longmont and Fort Collins residents were exercising their rights under the Colorado Constitution to limit fracking.
“The oil companies are free to exercise their mineral rights, but they cannot use any old dirty, dangerous method they choose to frack away our rights,” Walters said.
Fracking proponents contend that the widely used drilling practice is dangerous neither to people’s health nor to the environment.
This article was written by Karen Antonacci from Daily Times-Call, Longmont, Colo. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.