“Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark…” – William Shakespeare
Citizens of the county of Broomfield should be upset. Their democratic rights are being subverted. Not only have oil and gas companies sued the Broomfield Election Division, now a judge has weighed into the fray. On December 10th, Judge Francis Wasserman issued an order that bars Broomfield from certifying the election results of the recount over a contentious five-year fracking-moratorium. The order was issued in the wake of a lawsuit filed Dec. 3 by pro-fracking group Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition. Local lawyers have decried the move by the judge, as the election results, affirming the five year ban, had already been approved by the canvass board on December 5th. Broomfield plans to respond by filing a motion in the court asking the judge to reconsider.
It seems that the democratic rights of citizens are under attack from all sides from special interests. The election should have settled this matter, but now it is being drawn out in court. The oil and gas companies have shifted their tactics. If you cannot win by throwing money into swaying public opinion to support fracking, then buy influence. Buy influence through attack-dog trial lawyers, throwing their weight around in court. Buy the influence of judges who will issue rulings against fair election results. If you can’t win in a legitimate arena (i.e. public elections) win with money and influence.
I have been focusing on the Broomfield hydraulic fracturing ban, but in addition to this ban, there have been fracking bans in Boulder, Lafayette, and Fort Collins. the COGA (Colorado Oil and Gas Association) has filed lawsuit against Lafayette and Fort Collins for these fracking bans. It has become so bad here in Colorado that Representatives like Rep, Jared Polis have spoke out in recent days:
“Colorado Oil and Gas Association needs to focus on winning over hearts and minds, not suing us when they disagree with the legitimate outcome of elections,” Rep. Polis stated. “I call on Colorado Oil and Gas Association to withdraw their lawsuits and stop trying to overturn the recent elections in Lafayette and Fort Collins.”
The majority of Fort Collins, Boulder, Lafayette, and Broomfield voters chose to pass measures to extend drilling moratoriums or fracking bans. And even those who voted against these measures generally agree it is community members, not COGA, who should determine how and whether oil and gas is developed in Fort Collins and Lafayette.
“Local governments have authority to regulate oil and gas land use activities because oil and gas operations are matters of local concern that impact home values and are an important issue for residents and neighborhoods,” Polis concluded. “If the oil and gas industry forces taxpayers to defend these lawsuits it will generate even more public sentiment against creating energy sector jobs and achieving energy independence.”
Attached are links to videos of Congressman Polis speaking of his concerns on these lawsuits:
Video 1: http://youtu.be/PT3EnfqenXU
Video 2: http://youtu.be/puQ24uz06KI
Source: Jared Polis’ Official Website
Rep. Polis is a brave man and one of the few members of Congress that I still respect and admire. He is right to speak out on behalf of his constituents. How did the Oil and Gas community respond? Very maturely, by challenging Re. Polis to a public debate on energy. I hope that Rep. Polis continues to speak out against the formidable oil and gas lobby. America must not let special interests undermine our most basic rights. We speak out in elections and we expect our election results to be respected in the eyes of the courts.