Banning The Ban: Colorado Supreme Court Rules Communities Not Allowed To Enact Local Bans On Fracking

Fracking, Yes, People No: So Says Colorado Supreme Court, Bans The Use Of Local Bans On Fracking

If you have ever wondered just how far the legal framework has progressed that favors business interests over those of the people, you need look no further than Longmont, Colorado.

The Colorado Supreme Court has struck down a local ban on fracking in the city of Longmont, determining that the corporations’ interest in pulling gas and oil out of the ground supercedes any interest local people might have in breathing clean air, drinking clean water, and not having their tap water ignite in flames as it pours from the faucet.

Not to mention property values. It seems that there are very few constitutional rights normally enjoyed by the people of the United States which cannot be overturned in favor of the “right” of an oil company to make money.

“It is beyond comprehension that the Colorado Supreme Court still fails to recognize the rights of people to live in a safe and healthy environment,” said Kaye Fissinger, president of Our Longmont, a local citizen’s activist group. “The state has declared that fostering oil and gas development is in its interest. That the court apparently equates a government interest superior to human rights is a severe slap in the face. Our country’s founding fathers are most certainly turning over in their graves.”

The original ban was passed by the citizens of Longmont in 2012, banning fracking, disposal of fracking waste products and building injection wells in the city. Despite being outspent 30-1 by the oil and gas companies, the city charter amendment passed overwhelmingly, with 60 percent voting in favor.

Immediately thereafter, the oil and gas industry, joined by the state’s attorney general at the instruction of Governor John Hickenlooper sued to overturn the measure.

Indeed, that Governor Hickenlooper, the liberal CEO of a local microbrewery and ostensibly a Democrat, would side so frequently and so adamantly with big business and fight against what was after all a democratically enacted measure is a bitter pill for many Coloradoans to swallow.

“Turning democracy on its head, today’s ruling prohibits local communities from deciding whether and how to balance their health against the fracking industry’s profits,” said Bruce Baizel, Earthworks energy program director.

Even beyond the rights of the governed to govern themselves, as is written into the constitution of the US as well as Colorado’s constitution, there is the health issue. The court, at the behest of the state’s governor has ruled that the health impacts that 21 of 25 peer-reviewed studies found to be associated with fracking need not concern the citizens of Longmont and the rest of Colorado.

Once again, profit and political expedience overrule health and sustainability.

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