Gas Industry Successfully Overturns Colorado Fracking Ban

Search form

Gas Industry Successfully Overturns Colorado Fracking Ban

Gas Industry Successfully Overturns Colorado Fracking Ban
Tue, 5/28/2013 - by Farron Cousins
This article originally appeared on DeSmogBlog

The townspeople in Fort Collins were greeted with some unfortunate news last week, as their city council decided tooverturn a ban on hydraulic fracturing that had been in place for only a few short months. The decision to overturn the ban was based solely on the threat of a lawsuit from the oil and gas industry.

The mere threat of a lawsuit from the only fracking company in town – Prospect Energy – was enough to send the city council cowering in submission, placing the entire town at risk of the negative health impacts associated with fracking.

The gas industry was aided in their efforts by Colorado’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper, who warned the town of Fort Collins that if the ban were to remain in place, they could face legal intervention from the state itself.

Hickenlooper’s announcement is less than surprising. He has received more than $45,000 from the energy industry during his campaigns, along with another $104,000 from the real estate industry (a sector that stands to gain a lot with the leasing of property to fracking.)

Prospect Energy was aided in their efforts by the industry front group Energy in Depth. After the ban was lifted, EID issueda press release saying the following:

The debate in Boulder County should focus on the facts, and the robust and responsible regulations that are already enforced by the state of Colorado, not reckless claims by ideologically motivated activist groups.

But the city council’s decision to allow the ban to expire only sped up the process for the dirty energy industry. The ban would have eventually been overturned by the court system in Colorado. At least two challenges to fracking bans have been brought before the Colorado Supreme Court, and in both instances, the Court sided with the dirty energy industry. This set the precedent for future challenges to be handled swiftly and soundly in the lower courts.

But this raises another important issue, and that is the importance of the American judiciary, the forgotten branch of government. While a few states actually elect their judges, most states (and the federal government) rely on appointments from governors and presidents. If a governor, like Hickenlooper, has received tens of thousands of dollars from the energy industry, it is fairly safe to assume that he’s going to appoint judges who the industry approves, regardless of their party affiliation. As the politician goes, so goes the court.

The town of Fort Collins needs to lawyer up themselves. The second that any toxic fracking fluids leak into their water supply, they need to file suit.

Unfortunately, given the reactionary nature of our country, we only address problems after they occur, but having a team of skilled environmental attorneys on hand will be a necessity for Fort Collins once the fracking begins.

 

Article Tabs

The path from poverty to the middle class has changed — now, it runs through higher education.

Dodd-Frank Act, derivatives ban, Elizabeth Warren, Jamie Dimon, Lincoln Amendment, bank bailouts, too big to fail, Glass-Steagall Act

The sudden dramatic collapse in the price of oil may result in vast derivative losses – and the FDIC could be liable following the recent repeal of key portions of the Dodd-Frank Act.

oil train derailments, oil train safety, tar sands, fracking, oil shipments, oil train accidents

Here’s the reality — we don’t need new pipelines and we don’t need oil by rail.

Because an anti-environmental platform is a prerequisite to win office in West Virginia, coal-related spills and other disasters are often overlooked by government officials who want to be re-elected.

This city's government knows that the antecedents of democracy are material – the ability to provide services, the ability to absorb the impact of economic shifts, the ability to make citizens feel invested in their communities.

There’s never been a better time to organize a general strike in the U.S. than right now, with both corporate owners and political leaders pillaging public resources for their own private gain.

Posted 5 days 6 hours ago

Now rolling into to its fourth month, the video game consumer movement known as #GamerGate continues to evolve in scope and focus as it seeks to advocate for greater ethical standards in gaming journalism.

Posted 6 days 2 hours ago

New Scottish media platforms are thriving as the region's eclectic, creative, evolving, non-corporate and critical news landscape looks to grow even further into a media challenging the status qu

Posted 3 days 5 hours ago

The provision was literally written by Citigroup executives.

Posted 5 days 6 hours ago
Jeff Clements, money in politics, Powell Memo, Corporations Are Not People, Citizens United, Free Speech for People

After Citizens United, says Jeff Clements, “I felt that I couldn't just leave it at that, that democracy is really on the line, that the country is on the line – I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that humanity is on the line.”

Posted 3 days 6 hours ago

There seems to be a method to the madness of winner-take-all capitalism.

The crooked math that's going to crash American law enforcement if policies aren't changed.

Jeff Clements, money in politics, Powell Memo, Corporations Are Not People, Citizens United, Free Speech for People

After Citizens United, says Jeff Clements, “I felt that I couldn't just leave it at that, that democracy is really on the line, that the country is on the line – I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that humanity is on the line.”

Red Cross responders say there was a ban on working with the widely praised Occupy Sandy relief group because it was seen as politically unpalatable.

Sign Up