Don’t Tread On Us-A Message from Colorado
by: Lotus Posted on: December 08, 2013
Editor’s Introduction: Colorado Springs, CO residents are in court, fighting for the right to vote on a Community Bill of Rights that bans hydrofracking within their jurisdiction. Below is a look back on how this all got started.
Defending Our Rights
Colorado Springs is in many ways a diverse community, but there is one thing we all agree on: Our rights are sacred. The coiled rattle snake flag that read “Don’t Tread On Me” was a symbol of resistance during the American Revolution. It has clear meaning to all of us today.
Due to hydrofracking, the oil and gas industry and the state of Colorado threaten our health, water, air, property values, tourist industry, parks, open spaces and wonderful views.
At a February 25, 2013 city council meeting and other meetings, the previous City Council was told by the City Attorney’s Office, the Local Government Design, and the oil and gas industry that City Council does not have the following rights:
– To keep the oil and gas industry out of our residential neighborhoods
– To keep the oil and gas industry out of our parks
– To have any control over the injection of dangerous chemicals into our ground
– To require the oil and gas industry to monitor our ground water more frequently
Our Council was essentially told that it has almost no rights to protect its citizens’ health, water, air, soil, parks and open spaces.
In order to prevent an oil and gas industry assault on Colorado Springs, our organization, Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights, is attempting to place on the ballot a Bill of Rights Charter Amendment banning hydrofracking that will allow us all to stand up for our rights—to stand up against the State of Colorado and the oil and gas industry.
As we have engaged in this struggle to protect our rights it has become clear that current state and federal laws primarily protect the oil and gas industry rather than we citizens and our city government. These laws that protect the oil and gas industry are the problem and must be changed at both the state and federal levels.
We think we will prevail in this legal battle to get our Bill of Rights Charter Amendment banning fracking on the ballot. This charter amendment is a legal, educational and organizing tool that will help us all by assisting us in our struggle to lessen the rights of the Colorado Governement, and the oil and gas industry, and increase the rights of citizens and our city government.
There have been 15 similar Bill of Rights laws in five states banning hydrofracking.Not one of these Bill of Rights hydrofracking bans has ever been legally challenged.
The more local governments across Colorado stand up against the State of Colorado and the oil and gas industry, the more likely the state and federal laws protecting the oil and gas industry will be changed so we can have our rights back.
Thus we will not only be getting our Bill of Rights Charter Amendment passed in Colorado Springs, we will be working with other communities and organizations from across Colorado in order to create a groundswell of pressure to change the laws in Colorado related to citizen and local government rights and ban hydrofracking statewide.
We are not alone in this struggle to protect our rights and ban hydrofracking in Colorado. A growing number of communities are standing up for their rights against our state government and the oil and gas industry. Longmont, Fort Collins, Lafayette, Boulder, Loveland have joined and soon the movement will be spreading like a wild fire.
Our approach to banning hydrofracking is different from other approaches in that we no not mention any regulations. Our focus is almost exclusively on rights.
Our basic inalienable rights are a higher law than regulatory law.
We draw our inspiration from the civil rights and the women’s sufferage movements. The laws and the courts were not on their side; and yet they prevailed. They changed the laws at the highest levels. We will do the same. There is a revolution of sorts going on in Colorado Springs, across Colorado and in a growing number of states.
I am going to close with a statement from former Fort Collins Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Ohlson: “The governor should spend his time protecting the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Colorado rather than acting like the chief lobbyist for the oil and gas industry.”
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