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Home / Articles / Views / Letters /  Letters | Lafayette council is fracked
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Thursday, October 31,2013

Letters | Lafayette council is fracked

Lafayette council is fracked

The timid Lafayette city council and Mayor Carolyn Cutler are touting their three-year fracking moratorium recently passed to counter Lafayette’s fracking ban initiative. What the council and mayor aren’t telling Lafayette residents: In August, the council received a nine-page letter from a Denver law firm representing the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. On page 8 of the letter, COGA’s attorney writes: “the city’s adoption of this moratorium is impermissible.”

The city council is consistently ill-informed about the city’s oil and gas operations. A year ago, no one on the council knew how many wells currently existed in Lafayette (24 — 14 producing and 10 abandoned). The council granted home building permits in the Silver Creek development in proximity to a producing well that once had an open waste pit; the pit was simply backfilled. Is the soil contaminated? No one knows. The council never tried to find out.

We can’t rely on this city council to protect the citizens of Lafayette from the dangers of oil and gas extraction or to report the oil and gas industry’s legal threats.

Since we have to fight for our health, safety and property values, let’s fight on the basis that we have a right to clean air and water. Let’s fight on the basis that community rights and human rights supersede corporate rights. Legal fights will result regardless of how communities try to protect their residents from drilling next to homes, schools, playgrounds and open space. The moratorium won’t buy Lafayette time or relief from the industry’s attacks — COGA rattled its sabers immediately. The council just didn’t tell Lafayette residents about it.

Let’s fight this industry with the strongest argument — the rights argument.

Read the ballot initiative in its entirety: www.eastbocounited.org/lafayette-community-rights-act. It’s strong. It’s forceful. Yes on ballot question 300!

Mandi Papich/Lafayette

A door hanger distributed in Lafayette neighborhoods read “VOTE YES on 300,” followed by “Fracking is a dangerous industrial activity,” as if that is the extent of the citizen-initiated ballot question. It’s not. It’s as if there is fracking in Lafayette. There isn’t. It’s as if there is no moratorium. There is. And, it’s as if state law allows municipalities to ban fracking. It doesn’t.

I will vote no, and here’s why:

Question 300 is more than a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking). It is an overreaching charter amendment addressing all activities supporting oil and gas extraction. It bans all new oil and gas activity, outlaws the use of state highways for transporting non-renewable-energy-related products through Lafayette, strips corporations and individuals working for corporations of constitutional rights and federal protections, and requires Lafayette to oversee other municipalities, counties and states in the mitigation of adverse environmental impacts.

Lafayette’s Question 300 was written in Pennsylvania by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). One goal of this organization is “exposing the oppressive conniving of state and corporate power publicly, in sharp contrast to the people’s aspirations and sense of public justice.” They expect court battles and do not expect most to be won. They expect the cost to be high and the losses illustrative of their message.

Lafayette took steps to confront the issue.

Lafayette has required applications for oil and gas wells since the mid-’90s and has received zero applications since then.

Lafayette enacted a three-year moratorium directing city staff not to accept, review or approve new or pending applications.

Nearby municipalities have ballot questions imposing moratoriums to prevent fracking, whereas Lafayette’s Question 300 broadly addresses all oil and gas activity and corporate power.

Lafayette’s moratorium allows time for legislative action, regulatory changes, impacts to be better understood, the city to respond to new information, and Longmont’s suit from an approved ban to be adjudicated.

Should Lafayette live with a timeout on fracking applications — allowing studies, regulations and adjudication of court cases — or is it more important to send a message about the evils of “conniving governments and corporations”? I believe we want something that isn’t already outside the legal limits of state and federal law. I urge you to read the amendment at http://www.cityoflafayette.com/DocumentCenter/View/3405 and join me in voting no on Question 300.

Carolyn Cutler, mayor/Lafayette

We the people need to decide if we want more oil and gas industry and all of its fallout in our backyards, or if we want clean air, clean water, clean land and healthy lives for all generations to come.

Look around and you will see the oil and gas industry and our government are playing the same cards that DOW and our government played at Rocky Flats. That pristine, unique section of our community is destroyed forever. Sit down right now and try to contemplate forever. Elected officials, your job is to think about this so hard you lose sleep — this is a big deal. Are we going to watch it happen again? We literally cannot live with that decision.

Until the industry can guarantee safe extraction of a fossil fuel that could kill us in its unrestrained use anyway, then stop any further activity. Mineral rights owners, think twice. There are also air owner rights, water owner rights and rights to a healthy, sustainable life. It is not all about money. Or is it?

Do not sell out to COGA and the millions of dollars invested in smoke and mirror propaganda that have misled us so many times when it comes to what big industry and the rich want. We have more oil and gas than we need (responsibly), the rich have more money than all of us added up, so why do we need this? Right, we do not.

Say no to oil and gas extraction in our communities. Think about sustainable alternatives, make the hard decision.

Think about the future and your children. How hard is that decision?

The below article statistically will be us one of these days. Heck it already has.

http://news.yahoo.com/nd-farmerfinds-oil-spill-while-harvestingwheat-050659313.html

Bob Ross/via Internet

No on Boulder Issue 2A

State Proposition AA, which is expected to pass this November, levies heavy taxes on recreational marijuana in the amount of: a 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent sales tax. Fifteen percent of the sales tax collected will be sent, proportionately, back to Boulder.

The cannabis industry generally is supportive of Proposition AA because it designates the first $40 million of pot tax revenue to Colorado’s schools. The industry also understands that there may be additional regulatory costs for recreational use. In not-so-many-words, the and Colorado MMJ industry is essentially volunteering to be taxed. But 30 percent is much more than enough.

The City of Boulder, however, is all proposed Ballot Issue 2A, which would hungry for more pot money, and has add another 5 percent to 10 percent excise tax and 3.5 percent to 10 percent sales tax, for a total potential tax hit of over 40 percent for recreational use.

Such high taxes virtually guarantee a return to a thriving black market for cannabis in Boulder — while at the same time robbing the city of any legiti mate revenues from tax process while incurring additional expenses of increased enforcement of the black market.

This is Drug Prohibition 101.

Never mind that these taxes would drive up your purchase price of an ounce of cannabis from, say, $200 to $280 or more, with no clear idea of where those revenues will be spent.

The proposed law suggests that it will be used for “public safety, enforcement and administrative purposes and for comprehensive substance abuse programs including but not limited to prevention, treatment, education, responsible use, intervention, and monitoring, with an emphasis on youth, and with the remainder used by the General Fund.”

Oh, the General Fund.

So, any dollars collected but not spent on “Just Say No” programs (which have yet to be developed) will go to the City General Slush Fund, which means you’ve got no say or, really, no knowledge where your tax dollars are going.

The revenue from Proposition AA will more than support the regulatory infrastructure. And don’t forget that Boulder already collects an incredible amount of money from the marijuana industry in the form of licensing fees, sales tax, jobs, real estate rentals and the hundreds of employees and ancillary businesses that have been spawned by the medical dispensary industry.

The City of Boulder is double-dipping and trying to get in on a purported “green rush.”

But there is no real or implied benefit for anyone, especially those who are being forced to pay nearly 50 percent more for their constitutionally protected right to smoke marijuana.

Boulder is addicted to your pot dollars. Don’t be their codependent. Vote No on 2A.

Daniel Taras/Boulder

Vote no on state pot tax

This election, Colorado voters will consider Proposition AA, a 15 percent sales tax plus a 15 percent excise tax on marijuana sales. Colorado has never taxed a particular industry or product at this high of a rate. These taxes would be in addition to the federal, state and local taxes already in place on marijuana. Federal taxes on marijuana businesses and consumers are already higher than any other industry due to the inability of these businesses to take full deductions.

Proposition AA would be the highest tax increase in Colorado history, a reckless experiment that would create a dysfunctional market for marijuana, undermining the goal of the “Alcohol- Marijuana Equalization Initiative” (Amendment 64). As a framer and supporter of Amendment 64, the purpose of the measure was to bring marijuana out of Prohibition and regulate it like alcohol. Colorado’s alcohol industry pays less than 1 percent in state excise taxes.

Prohibition does not work. Excessive taxes are another form of Prohibition.

The Pro-Tax campaign is supported by what Jacob Sullum of Reason magazine has accurately labeled “The Marijuana Cartel,” i.e., large dispensaries and drug dealers that use burdensome and expensive government regulation and taxation to suppress fair competition from smaller businesses.

The Pro-Tax campaign is running a campaign of fear, alleging that the U.S. Department of Justice wants high taxes on marijuana. I recently asked the U.S. Attorney for Colorado, John Walsh, whether he supported Colorado Proposition AA, and he responded that the U.S. Department of Justice did not endorse Proposition AA. An Aug. 29 memo from the U.S. Department of Justice providing official guidance regarding marijuana does not even mention local or state taxes on marijuana, but does mention an enforcement system that is “effective in practice.” Excessive taxes create a dysfunctional system that is “ineffective in practice,” and creates a marijuana market ripe for takeover by the unregulated, untaxed, underground market.

Proposition AA would re-establish Prohibition and drive marijuana back underground, to the detriment of all Coloradans. Please vote “No” on Proposition AA.

[Click here for Boulder Weekly's endorsement of Yes on AA.]

Robert J. Corry, Jr./Denver

Vanity vs. sanity

Is it vanity and not sanity that is now driving municipalization past all the so-called off-ramps? I have prepared an online PowerPoint presentation that shows both what Xcel has already accomplished versus what Boulder claims they can accomplish, as well as Xcel’s 20-year plan versus Boulder’s. Boulder is only about 3.4 percent of the entire Colorado Xcel power usage. Even with the best results, Boulder will only have a 1 percent to 2 percent impact on the state total. That is what I would call a statistically insignificant shallow victory, especially if carbon reduction is the goal. Xcel already has 19.5 percent renewables in their energy source mix. That is already approximately more that the equivalent of 10 Boulder municipalizations!

Did you know that Boulder still has plans to use coal for most of the next 20 years? Did you know that Xcel has a steady reduction of coal use over the same period? Did you know that Boulder will ultimately have a high reliance on wind (bird and bat mortality) and natural gas (fracking)? Did you know that Boulder and Xcel both plan to have about the same low (5 percent to 3 percent) use of solar? We need to use our power to motivate Xcel, the Public Utilities Commission and our state representatives to not create our own bureaucracy, at great expense, that will result in exactly the same problems in the long run. The start-up costs alone are estimated to be $35.8 million, with hundred(s) of millions more to come. For what, a 2 percent change?

When you critically think that Xcel is guilty of misrepresentation, what is stopping you from using that same critical assessment of Boulder’s plan? Is it Vanity and not Sanity? See data and sources at http://tinyurl.com/munivanity2.

[Click here for Boulder Weekly's endorsement of yes on 2E and no on 310.]

Patrick Murphy/Boulder

Fine print on A-66

The Oct. 17-23 issue has an article, “Why the ‘Weekly’ makes political endorsements.” After reading their reasoning, they lead you to believe that “it is vital that your vote be cast after being fully informed and well-advised” and that they have “exhaustively investigating each initiative,” and “are experts on the 2013 elections.” Interestingly they endorse Amendment 66 and give reasons why but fail to mention the “fine print” “allowing all tax revenues attributable to this measure to be collected and spent without future voter approval.” Are they truly helping to make us “well-informed?” Rose Gay/via Internet

Wrong on subdivisions

The comparison of Boulder County subdivision residents to a mobile home park is wrong.

Mobile home park residents pay a license plate tax, while subdivision residents pay a property tax that is intended to cover schools, road maintenance and other various government functions.

I have been a resident of one of these Boulder County subdivisions since 1969, and we paid for the road improvements to bring the road up to county standards in 1974 with a LID program.

The Boulder County engineering department sent the subdivision residents a letter (dated July 1974) advising them that the improvements were approved and the roads within the subdivision were accepted for county maintenance. Please do some research before writing your voting recommendations on 5C.

Wayne Winkler/Longmont

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