Denver, CO – A coalition filed an appeal on Wednesday to uphold the democratically-enacted ban on fracking passed by Longmont voters in 2012. Represented by the University of Denver Law Clinic, the groups Our Longmont, Food & Water Watch, Sierra Club and Earthworks filed the appeal to overturn a district court decision that places the interests of the oil and gas industry over the health and safety of local citizens.
“We are committed to continuing to protect the health, safety and property of Longmont residents,” says Kaye Fissinger, President of Our Health Our Future Our Longmont, one of the Citizen Intervenors in the challenge to Longmont's charter amendment which prohibits fracking and its waste products within Longmont. “The judge failed to apply the law correctly and the decision deserves review by the higher courts to protect the people of Colorado from this dangerous, toxic extraction practice that instigates a domino effect that is a threat to the health, safety and wellbeing of the people of Longmont. We look forward to an outcome that recognizes and endorses the people's constitutionally guaranteed rights to health and safety.”
The Court wrongly determined that Longmont's ban conflicts with the state's interests in oil and gas development; the decision ignores the fact that state law requires oil and gas development to be done in a way that protects public health and the environment.
“Fracking is an inherently harmful practice that has no place near our towns, homes and recreational areas,” says Sam Schabacker, Western Region Director with Food & Water Watch. “It is the State's duty to ban fracking in order to uphold its responsibility to safeguard our communities and our natural resources.”
“The people voted to keep fracking away from their homes, schools and parks and their will should be honored,” says Eric Huber, Sierra Club Senior Managing Attorney. “We believe the judge made a mistake in elevating the oil and gas industry over local interests, and trust the court of appeals will see things differently.”
“When a community chooses not to host fracking, they shouldn't be sued,” says Earthworks' Energy Program Director Bruce Baizel. “That's what this appeal is about, it's what the ballot initiatives were about, and it's what the Governor's blue ribbon commission must remember. It's common sense.”
The Longmont fracking ban will remain in place while the appeal moves forward, thereby continuing to protect the people of Longmont from the harms from irresponsible gas extraction.