Target: Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, Nancy E. Rice
Goal: Allow local governments to impose tougher fracking rules.
Colorado’s highest court has announced it will take up cases from the cities of Longmont and Fort Collins, where residents voted for fracking restrictions. The anti-fracking voters are battling to protect themselves from fracking’s threats to their health, property, air quality and water sanitation. Usually, regulations on the oil and gas industry are up to the state, but the Supreme Court’s decision will clarify how much of a say cities can have. Since the land, air, water and people of the cities where fracking occurs are directly affected by it, the citizens should be allowed to reject the practice.
Fracking involves the injection of a high-pressure mix of toxic chemicals underground to retrieve oil and gas. It has led to contaminated water, property and landscape damage, polluted air, and health problems. It also may induce earthquakes, allegedly causing Oklahoma’s drastic peak in earthquakes, from two a year to 585.
In 2013, the Longmont voters passed a ban on fracking and Fort Collins passed a five-year moratorium. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) filed a lawsuit challenging the cities, stating that regulations are up to the state. The lower courts sided with COGA and overturned the cities’ ban and moratorium. The cases then moved to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which passed it to the Supreme Court for a decision.
The Supreme Court allowing Longmont and Fort Collins to present their cases is a small victory that can quickly be crushed by the powerful fracking industry’s campaigning. Urge the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court to allow for true democracy and let the majority rule in deciding oil and gas regulations in their cities.
Dear Chief Justice Rice,
The people of Longmont and Fort Collins have expressed their concerns of fracking and found solidarity in opposing it in their home cities. Fracking directly affects the citizens of the cities in which it drills, contaminating their water, air and land, and leading to health hazards, lowered property values and possible earthquakes. Therefore, it’s not democratically sound to deny local citizens a say in the regulations on this practice.
Although, historically, it’s been up to the states to decide oil and gas regulations, the people of Longmont and Fort Collins have loudly voiced their concerns with fracking, and as tax-paying citizens, their needs should be taken into account. Oil and gas industries are going to use their unlimited power and resources to campaign against the bans, but as the highest court in Colorado, you have the ultimate say in how much influence the local governments can have.
Due to the health hazards and harmful environmental effects, Longmont and Fort Collins have legitimate reasons for their ban and moratorium. I urge you to please allow these cities to impose their own oil and gas regulations and ban fracking.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: greensefa