Lafayette, Colo.
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Lafayette, Colo.

The latest effort by a group of Coloradans to protect their community from frackers goes further than the bans and moratoriums recently put in place by Boulder, Fort Collins, and Longmont.

Residents of Lafayette, Colo., which has a population of 25,000, are collecting signatures in an effort to place a charter amendment on an upcoming ballot that would ban all new oil and gas extraction and establish a far-reaching community bill of rights.

Among other things, the bill of rights would proclaim that residents “possess a right to a sustainable, healthy energy future” and the “right to be free from involuntary chemical trespass including toxins, carcinogens, particulates, nucleotides, hydrocarbons and other substances.” It would also declare that ecosystems “possess unalienable and fundamental rights to exist and flourish within the City of Lafayette.”

The activists hope such a bill would help assure them clean air and clean water — the very things that are threatened by the fracking industry and its friends in government. The industry enjoys strong support from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who has pledged to sue cities in his state that impose bans on fracking.

From the Daily Camera:

[The] members of anti-fracking advocacy group East Boulder County United … launched a petition drive this week to get a measure placed on Lafayette’s November ballot …

“Primarily, it would establish a community bill of rights. The rights to clean air, clean water and self-determination,” East Boulder County United co-founder Cliff Willmeng said. “Second, it explicitly bans new oil and gas extraction in Lafayette city limits.” …

Joan Pierce, a retired Boulder Valley School District teacher and 10-year Lafayette resident, … said she has been alarmed at how corporations have become more powerful in recent years in the U.S., and she decided that now that an issue of corporate rights has come to her backyard, she has to do her part to combat those expanding powers.

“When it comes to people’s health, and it’s to the point where this is at stake, it’s time to stand up for our children and future generations,” she said.

East Boulder County United is seeking to collect as many as 2,000 signatures to ensure it exceeds the 950-voter threshold to get the measure on the ballot. The group is also seeking to have all of its signatures gathered by July 3.

Mora County, N.M., recently enacted its own community bill of rights when it banned fracking.

Find out more about fracking bans and community bills of rights from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.