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Colorado Communities Could Ban Fracking Under New Proposed Amendment

01/02/2014 06:26 pm ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

A proposed amendment to Colorado's constitution that would give municipalities the power to ban or restrict fracking and other industrial activities would be the first of its kind nationwide if it passes.

The Daily Camera first reported that the Colorado Community Rights Network is planning to submit the language for a ballot measure as soon as next week that would flip the tables on pro-fracking groups.

"Today, communities across the country are finding that they don’t have the right to make critical decisions for themselves -- such as the right to say 'no' to fracking or factory farming, and the right to say 'yes' to sustainable energy and food systems," the organization says on its Facebook page. "[They're also] finding that our structure of law elevated corporate decision making over community decision making."

If passed, the amendment would also have immediate ramifications in Colorado, where the state's oil and gas association is suing the cities of Fort Collins, Lafayette and Longmont for enacting voter-approved fracking bans.

Lafayette resident Cliff Willmeng, who was key in the getting the city's voters to enact a fracking ban as a leader of East Boulder County United, told The Daily Camera that the measure wouldn't just be limited to fracking, but would "establish the local supremacy of municipalities over state preemption so they can make a decision about their health and welfare."

In early December, the lawsuits prompted U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) to address the Colorado Oil and Gas Association on YouTube asking them to "stop suing our communities just because they don't want fracking."

In their response to the COGA lawsuit, East Boulder County United wrote:

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.

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