By Calvin Thompson | Colorado Watchdog
Activists in Lafayette, a small town just outside of Boulder, have jumped on the anti-fracking bandwagon.
Over the last week, the environmentalist group East Boulder County United launched a petition effort to put a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking,” on the town’s November ballot.
Fracking is a means of extracting natural gas and other energy sources from the earth by blasting the rock with sand and various liquids at high pressures. While the proposed amendment to Lafayette’s charter would not ban oil and gas wells actively being tapped, the amendment would effectively kill any hopes of fracking within the area.
The charter amendment begins with a community bill of rights, including rights to clean water, clean air, sustainable energy and the right to be “free from chemical trespass.” Additionally, it lays out “certain, unalienable and fundamental rights” for ecosystems, and gives residents of Lafayette the ability to enforce those rights.
The amendment would outright ban many industries, with the fracking business just being the tip of the iceberg. The manufacturing and processing of fossil and nuclear fuel would be banned. The transportation of fracking byproducts through town would be banned. Even oil pipelines would be outlawed:
“It shall be unlawful for any corporation, or person using a corporation, to engage in the creation of fossil fuel, nuclear or other non-sustainable energy production and delivery infrastructures, such as pipelines, processing facilities, compressors, or storage and transportation facilities that support or facilitate industrial activities related to the extraction of natural gas and oil.”
Along with its myriad of other prohibitions, the amendment would also inhibit new technology in the few wells that would be allowed to continue. Only drilling technology in use when it passes would be permitted.
One of the strangest restrictions is the ban on water, of which fracking requires a great deal for daily operation. No fracking company would be allowed to obtain water for fracking from Lafayette, even if the process was done outside the borders. This could severely limit companies that wish to do business outside the city limits, as well.
According to Boulder Weekly, the petition to amend the community charter will require almost 1,000 signatures to make it on the November ballot, but East Boulder County United is hoping for twice that.
East Boulder County United is just the most recent group of activists to oppose fracking in Boulder County. Anti-fracking activism is nothing new to the area, and the city of Boulder even passed a one-year fracking moratorium last week. Boulder city council members have suggested putting a total ban on that process.
The fracking controversy has risen to the highest levels of state government in recent months. In spite of the supposed danger of “fracking fluid,” the main byproduct of the fracking process, Gov. John Hickenlooper reportedly drank the stuff in February to demonstrate its safety.
Email Calvin Thompson at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @watchdogco.