Wednesday morning began with the delivery of a petition with over 6,000 signatures endorsing the "Declaration of Solidarity Against Fracking" to Gov. John Hickenlooper's office by 11 Coloradans representing 13 groups.
By Wednesday afternoon a letter signed by 82 city, county and town officials from across Colorado -- mayors, city council members, county commissioners and public trustees -- was delivered to the governor, expressing "surprise and disappointment" over the state's lawsuit against the city of Longmont for the city's enactment of local oil and gas rules. Joining over 270 municipalities nationwide that have taken action against fracking in their communities, Longmont has updated and amended land use regulations with regard to oil and gas exploration, requesting consolidation of oil and gas operations to fewer facilities, the limitation of surface operations to non-residential zones, and voluntary setbacks by oil and gas from occupied buildings, schools, etc.
Defending the right and responsibility of local governments to act to protect public and environmental health, the signers from various municipalities expressed dismay that the State has chosen to spend valuable tax dollars on litigation against one of its own communities. They noted that for over 20 years "Courts have upheld local regulatory authority over the impacts of oil and gas development."
The officials observed that the State lacks the capacity to adequately monitor or enforce existing regulations, let alone additional needed state regulations, "e.g., for enhanced well-bore testing, pre-drilling water sampling, controlling fugitive methane emissions, and developing setbacks for wells in densely populated areas."
Requesting State collaboration with localities to craft regulatory solutions to "potentially risky industrial activities," instead of its current adversarial stance, the local government representatives concluded with a request: "...we respectfully ask that you withdraw your lawsuit against the City of Longmont..."
In response to impacts of fracking on water, air and human and environmental health, the September 22 "Global Frackdown," was organized by Food and Water Watch and allied groups to advocate for the ban of fracking and the development of clean sustainable energy. One of over 150 grassroots actions worldwide, "Rally 'Round Longmont" was organized in support of Question 300 -- a local measure on the November ballot that would make Longmont the first city in Colorado to prohibit fracking within city limits in order to protect health, safety and property values.