Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

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

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

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:

 

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less