Anti-fracking activists in Lafayette have launched a petition drive for a ballot measure that would enact a ban on hydraulic fracturing and other oil/gas extraction methods within city limits.
The proposed city charter amendment, which would appear on the ballot in November, can be read in its entirety at www.eastbocounited.org, the website of East Boulder County United, one of several anti-fracking groups that has popped up around the county.
The amendment establishes a “Community Bill of Rights and Obligations” as law that can be enforced against private and public entities. Among the rights listed in the bill are the right to community self-government by the people, to clean water and air, to be free from “chemical trespass,” to “peaceful enjoyment of home,” to ecosystems and to a sustainable energy future.
To secure those rights, the bill lays out rules related to the prohibition of oil and gas extraction within city limits (with the exception of existing active and producing wells). Those include:
• A prohibition against corporations depositing, storing or transporting oil/ gas wastewater, chemicals or byproducts “within, upon or through the land, air or waters of the city of Lafayette”;
• A prohibition against the installation of any oil/gas infrastructure like pipelines, storage areas and processing facilities;
• A prohibition against extracting any water within city limits for oil/gas extraction;
• A statement holding people and corporations engaging in oil/gas extraction activities outside city limits liable for “all harms caused to natural water sources, ecosystems, people and human communities”; and
• A statement keeping corporations found guilty of extracting oil and gas within the city limits from using “personhood” rights or the commerce and contracts clauses in the U.S. and state constitutions to protect themselves.
East Boulder County United held a kickoff meeting to begin collecting signatures on June 11. Organizer Merrily Mazza told BW that the group needs to gather about 950 signatures to have the measure placed on the ballot, but activists are aiming to collect 2,000.