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

We yearn for a new politics but worry that our democracy, like that Antarctic ice shelf, has reached its tipping point.

The Ellison-Lewis legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act to give workers a range of legal options if they feel discriminated against for trying to form a union.

Under the American City County Exchange, local and city councils will see more privatization, more public services sold off or cut, and decision-making increasingly in the hands of large corporations far away.

In "False Dilemmas," Christina Laskaridis explores the origins and impacts of the debt crisis – looking at who engineered the bank bailouts, how they were able to get away with it, and what Europe has been left with.

We can further see that there is a war on the underclass in the form of police militarization, as the Pentagon actively prepares for civil unrest and a breakdown of society.

Nestlé is draining America's vital groundwater resources at a stunning rate – with 29 water bottling facilities across North America, it pocketed $4 billion in revenue from bottled water sales in 2012 alone.

Posted 1 day 21 hours ago

The British Medical Association joins a growing movement of institutions – including dozens of universities, foundations and even the World Council of Churches – dumping oil, coal and gas holdings.

Posted 4 days 17 hours ago

Former CEO Artie T. offered good benefits and fair pay – which is why employees are striking and customers are boycotting the market chain across the northeast, demanding to get him back.

Posted 3 days 1 hour ago

After taking place in Philadelphia in 2012 and last year in Kalamazoo, Mich., the third Occupy National Gathering moves west.

Posted 3 days 13 hours ago

The Coalition for Court Transparency, which advocates greater openness and accountability in judicial branch, launched a campaign to install TV cameras in the chambers of the Supreme Court.

Posted 3 days 2 hours ago

In RadiOWS's third installment, we begin with an Occupy Wall Street news roundup before launching into women's issues within the movement.

Huge swaths of people spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound, yet no one talks about it.

Join the Guitarmy!

Liberty Square NY—Legions of guitarists, string players, singers, and DIY-shaker makers will converge on Bryant Park on May 1 for Occupy Guitarmy, part of the Occupy Wall Street May Day actions for social and economic justice.

Dueling California Measures Set to Tax Rich, Gut Unions

Californians will vote November 6 whether to approve the largest tax hike on the wealthy in that state since 1978. Meanwhile, an "astonishingly deceptive" initiative, Prop 32, would make it virtually impossible for unions to play a role in politics.

In an interview with the BBC, Brand shows he's a revolutionary thinker and gives props to OCCUPY.

Sign Up