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 new 40-page report published by Oxfam International also said the global fossil fuel sector now receives $1.9 trillion in subsidies each year.

Edward Snowden

Snowden told the audience he engaged in civil disobedience because he believes the democratic system of government is not able to work when people don’t know what their government is doing.

Large corporations are the winners and taxpayers are the losers when transparency, accountability and the public interest are sold out to for-profit firms.

The city's social justice roots are centuries old – and today Seattle is also home to more than 70 social justice organizations and more than a dozen progressive film festivals.

Coinciding with the National Day Against Police Brutality and Mass Incarceration, people in Santa Rosa, Calif., will hold a vigil and community potluck Wednesday to commemorate the teen's tragic death.

“We wanted to take action to dramatize the betrayal of the American people and show that we will resist and attempt to disrupt or at least expose pro-corruption politicians' ability to raise big money.”

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago

Drug and device makers paid doctors $380 million in speaking and consulting fees over a five-month period last year – and saw a healthy return on their investment.

Posted 5 days 12 hours ago

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

Posted 2 days 14 hours ago

As of September 19, 181 institutions and local governments and 656 individuals representing over $50 billion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuels.

Posted 5 days 13 hours ago

So little of our national wealth is going to feed people or provide jobs and instead, the richest Americans vastly increased their wealth this past year. But what vaulted these individuals to the top?

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago

Video footage showing six plainclothes officers pummeling a man in a dark corner behind a building has galvanized the city where thousands continue to protest despite the harsh police response.

The California city of Rialto saw an 88% drop in claims of police misconduct within one year of officers wearing cameras.

This isn't just a right to revolt, it's a call to revolt, an outright slam against apathy and nonresistance.

If construction crews come on 78-year-old Virginia landowner Andrew Gantt's property, “Then I’ll lie down under their bulldozer. I’m serious.”

Florida has the highest foreclosure rate in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2014, and also has a "foreclosure king" who is now disbarred for his failure to oversee employees accused of carrying out wrongful foreclosures.

Sign Up