Quantcast

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

Two tankers leaving the Tamborine Mountain after being held up for two hours by TM Extinction Rebellion on Dec. 6.

A school in Queensland, Australia sent a note home to parents asking them to send their children with extra water bottles since its water supply has run dry, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Read More Show Less
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a press statement on the European Green Deal at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Dec. 11, 2019. Xinhua / Zheng Huansong via Getty Images

The European Commission introduced a plan to overhaul the bloc's economy to more sustainable, climate-conscious policies and infrastructure, with the goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050, according to CNBC.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Young activists shout slogans on stage after Greta Thunberg (not in the picture) took part in the plenary session during the COP25 Climate Conference on Dec. 11 in Madrid, Spain. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Young activists took over and occupied the main stage at the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain Wednesday and demanded world leaders commit to far more ambitious action to address the ecological emergency.

Read More Show Less
A NASA image showing the ozone hole at its maximum extent for 2015. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Montreal Protocol, a 1987 international treaty prohibiting the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to save the ozone layer, was the first successful multilateral agreement to successfully slow the rate of global warming, according to new research. Now, experts argue that similar measures may lend hope to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Example of starlings murmuration pictured in Scotland. Tanya Hart / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Police in Wales are in the midst of an unusual investigation: the sudden death of more than 200 starlings.

Read More Show Less