Lafayette fracking ban not being enforced, lawsuit claims by The Associated Press, June 10, 2014, The Republic
Two Lafayette residents are suing Colorado officials for not enforcing a ban on hydraulic fracturing. … Sixty percent of Lafayette voters supported a measure that prohibits any new oil and gas extraction in the city. The Colorado Oil & Gas Association has filed a lawsuit against Lafayette challenging the ban. Two residents filed the lawsuit Tuesday seeking immediate enforcement.
Lafayette residents sue state, Gov. Hickenlooper seeking enforcement of city’s fracking ban by Mitchell Byars, June 10, 2014, The Daily Camera Lafayette News
Two Lafayette residents today filed a lawsuit against the state of Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association requesting the immediate enforcement of a fracking ban passed by Lafayette voters in November.
Sixty percent of Lafayette voters supported a measure that prohibits any new oil and gas extraction in the city, but within a month, the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, which represents industry interests in the state, filed a lawsuit against Lafayette seeking to negate the ban.
In a statement issued at the time, the association said the ban violates state law because “state regulations specify and the state Supreme Court has ruled that oil and gas development, which must employ hydraulic fracturing or fracking, supersedes local laws and cannot be banned.”
Lafayette residents Cliff Wilmeng, of anti-fracking group East Boulder County United, and Ann Griffin filed a lawsuit in Boulder District Court today seeking to dismiss the COGA lawsuit.
According to their complaint, Griffin and Wilmeng also are asking the court to issue injunctions “enjoining the defendants from attempting to enforce the Oil and Gas Act against the plaintiffs and the people of the city of Lafayette to invalidate the charter amendment,” as well as “any future enforcement,” of the act. “This suit enforces Lafayette residents’ fundamental rights, which are being directly threatened by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association,” said Willmeng in a statement. “We had to take action to protect this community, its families and property, and we will continue to assert our rights to health, safety and welfare. These fundamental rights are not subordinate to corporate privilege, and they are not the property of the governor or the state of Colorado to either give away or to overrule. [Emphasis added]
Fracking: Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Gas Industry/State of Colorado Press Release by Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, June 10, 2014
Lafayette, Colorado, Residents File Class Action Lawsuit Against State, Governor, and Colorado Oil and Gas Association: Asks Court to Overturn State Oil and Gas Act and Dismiss Industry Lawsuit Against Lafayette
First-of-its-kind Lawsuit Seeks to Stop State and Industry Challenges to Lafayette Community Bill of Rights Which Bans Fracking
LAFAYETTE, CO: Today, residents of Lafayette, CO, filed a first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit against the State of Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. The lawsuit was filed to protect the rights of the people of Lafayette to self-governance, including their right to ban fracking.
In November 2013, residents of Lafayette overwhelmingly adopted a Home Rule Charter Amendment banning all new commercial extraction of natural gas and oil within the City limits. The Amendment establishes a Community Bill of Rights – including the right of human and natural communities to water and a healthy environment. The Bill of Rights bans fracking and other extraction as a violation of those rights.
In December, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Lafayette to overturn the Community Bill of Rights. The association is contending that the community does not have the legal authority to protect itself from fracking, and that corporate members of the association have the constitutional “right” to frack.
In filing the class action lawsuit, the residents of Lafayette are arguing that the Colorado Oil and Gas Act, and the industry’s enforcement of the Act, violate the constitutional right of residents of the community to local self-government.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assisted Lafayette residents to draft the Community Bill of Rights. CELDF is providing its support and expertise to the residents of Lafayette with the filing of the class action lawsuit.
Regarding today’s action, CELDF Executive Director, Thomas Linzey, Esq., stated, “This class action lawsuit is merely the first of many by people across the United States whose constitutional rights to govern their own communities are routinely violated by state governments working in concert with the corporations that they ostensibly regulate. The people of Lafayette will not stand idly by as their rights are negotiated away by oil and gas corporations, their state government, and their own municipal government.”
Through grassroots organizing and public interest law, CELDF works with communities across the country to establish Community Rights to democratic, local self-governance and sustainability. CELDF has assisted more than 150 communities to ban shale gas drilling and fracking, factory farming, and water privatization, and eliminate corporate “rights” when they violate community and nature’s rights. This includes assisting the first communities in the U.S. to establish Rights of Nature in law, as well as the first communities to eliminate corporate constitutional “rights.”
[Refer also to:
An Alberta government lawyer argued in court this week that Jessica Ernst’s lawsuit on hydraulic fracturing and groundwater contamination should be struck down on the grounds that it would open a floodgate of litigation against the province.
‘There could be millions or billions of dollars worth of damages,’ argued Crown counsel Neil Boyle.
2013: ERCB (now AER) lawyer to Alberta citizen Mr. Steward Shields in response to request under information legislation for frac incidents in Alberta:
“responding to such a request would require a massive undertaking on the part of the ERCB, potentially in the order of millions of pages of records.”