Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

An Inside Look at Democracy in Action to Ban Fracking in Fort Collins

Energy

Be the Change

By Phillip Doe

I drove to Fort Collins, Colorado last night to testify in favor of a proposed ban on fracking within that city’s boundaries. When I got there I discovered the Colorado Petroleum Association, the political arm of the industry, had already issued a press release stating the council had passed the ban.

Sure enough, the council, after hearing several hours of citizen testimony voted 5-2 in favor of the ban, causing one activist to mutter in amusement that you just can’t underestimate the power of the industry in this state.

Back in February, at the ban’s first reading, the industry pulled out all the stops. They even imported about 10 young women with fresh scrubbed babies to populate the audience. They all wore pink tee shirts with “Mothers In Love With Fracking” emblazoned on the back. They were nowhere to be seen this time around.

In fact, almost all the people in the packed council chamber spoke in favor of the ban—maybe 75 to 80 in all. Only five or six spoke against it. One was the industry’s lobbyist at the Capital, one hated Arabs, and one was Matt Lepore, the head of the state’s oil and gas commission. He pledged the state’s sincere desire to continue to work with the city. He did not dwell upon Governor Hickenlooper’s intemperate threat to sue the city on behalf of the industry if it dared pass a ban.

The testimony of the citizens was varied, of course. Many worried about their children, some worried about nature, some worried about water, some air, some the climate. One recited a commemorative haiku. One even penned a delightfully appropriate Dr. Seuss poem. In all, the confessions were sometimes labored, sometimes halting, but always sincere, humblingly so.

The council members voting for the ban referred in every instance to their first responsibilities to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare. Mayor pro tem Kelly Ohlson went on to tell the Governor’s representative, Matt Lepore, that his agency had no credibility in his city, that it was the complete captive of the industry. He finished by saying that he would reserve his strongest criticism of the Governor until he could tell him directly.

In the end, the citizens left relieved to know that sometimes democracy still works in America, at least at the local level. Still, a friend of mine remarked as we exited the town hall, “it is sure a hell of a lot of work.” I think that’s what Ben Franklin knew when he warned of the difficulty in keeping a democracy, but on this particular evening most of those people testifying seemed to think it could still be made to work. Fewer might have known of the effort it had taken.   

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Sign the petition today, telling President Obama to enact an immediate fracking moratorium:

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana has been converted to a 1,000-bed field hospital for coronavirus patients to alleviate stress on local hospitals. Chris Graythen / Getty Images

An area in Louisiana whose predominantly black and brown residents are hard-hit by health problems from industry overdevelopment is experiencing one of the highest death rates from coronavirus of any county in the United States.

Read More Show Less
A woman lies in bed with the flu. marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A central player in the fight against the novel coronavirus is our immune system. It protects us against the invader and can even be helpful for its therapy. But sometimes it can turn against us.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Several flower species, including the orchid, can recover quickly from severe injury, scientists have found. cunfek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Calling someone a delicate flower may not sting like it used to, according to new research. Scientists have found that many delicate flowers are actually remarkably hearty and able to bounce back from severe injury.

Read More Show Less
A Boeing 727 flies over approach lights with a trail of black-smoke from the engines on April 9, 2018. aviation-images.com / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With global air travel at a near standstill, the airline industry is looking to rewrite the rules it agreed to tackle global emissions. The Guardian reports that the airline is billing it as a matter of survival, while environmental activists are accusing the industry of trying to dodge their obligations.

Read More Show Less
A National Guard member works on election day at a polling location on April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. Andy Manis / Getty Images.

ByJulia Baumel

The outbreak of COVID-19 across the U.S. has touched every facet of our society, and our democracy has been no exception.

Read More Show Less