December 4th, 2013
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
Contact: Cliff Willmeng 303 478 6613
Merrily Mazza 720 556 1286
Faced with the loss of four democratic votes against oil and gas development across the Front Range this November, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association announced yesterday that it is filing lawsuits against two more Colorado communities, Lafayette and Fort Collins. These actions continue the legal harassment of Colorado citizens by one of the most powerful and highly financed industries in the world, and now bring the number of people at the receiving end of this antagonism into the hundreds of thousands.
Behind the corporate lawsuits is the industrial assertion that people are subordinate to mineral interests, and that Colorado citizens do not have the right to protect themselves from a known physical danger. “The Colorado Oil and Gas Association refuses to accept that this industry is not wanted in residential areas and places where people are raising families,” says East Boulder County United’s Merrily Mazza, a new Lafayette city councilor. “As the last election shows, Front Range residents are very knowledgeable about the cost to their communities and to their families health and well-being and they won’t sacrifice their health and property values for corporations’ bottom line.”
As the public credibility of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association continues to fail, even millions of dollars of television ads, glossy mailings, and full spectrum public relations campaigns have been ineffective in convincing Front Range communities that fracking is harmless. “Their advertising campaigns and false claims have now been fully rejected by Longmont, Broomfield, Boulder, Fort Collins and Lafayette, and the industry continues to flail against the public will” Says East Boulder County United’s Mandi Papich. “It’s revealing that COGA’s best game plan has to rely on subverting democracy and overruling the people of the entire Front Range. As the public continues to learn more about the dangerous realities of oil and gas extraction, the industry has to resort to harsher and more desperate measures to force itself upon us.”
The legal proceedings will now determine if Colorado law places corporations as the legal masters of the public, which would turn the environmental issue of fossil fuels and hydraulic fracturing into a potential civil rights movement. “We expect the courts to side with the public and our right to defend ourselves against known physical dangers”, says Lafayette resident and East Boulder County steering committee member Cliff Willmeng. “At the same time we are prepared for all outcomes, and in the event the courts find that communities are subordinate to corporations, the courts will at that moment lose democratic legitimacy and the right to rule the people.”
To advance the elimination of corporate law, East Boulder County United has joined with other communities around the nation to fight for Community Rights, and has helped to form the Colorado Community Rights Network. The new coalition is building a grassroots effort to drive Constitutional legal challenges so that people and communities have full legal superiority to all corporate projects. The movement for democracy, human health, and environmental sustainability will not honor any court, judge, or corporate claim that places human safety and collective authority subordinate to the interests of the wealthy few.