East Boulder County United's open letter to Lafayette City Council in response to 8 North's imminent drilling plans

To the Lafayette City Council,

After five years of anticipation, warning, and grassroots organizing to protect our community from the lethal practice of oil and gas drilling, we, like you, have just learned that oil and gas operator 8 North LLC, a subsidiary of Extraction Oil & Gas, plans to begin horizontal drilling in Lafayette and unincorporated Boulder County right on our borders. Extraction’saction follows the termination of the drilling moratorium by the Boulder County Commissioners in May of 2017. More important, it reflects the profound lack of leadership shown by city and county public officials during the long history surrounding fracking in Colorado and Boulder County.

For five years, Lafayette city councilors,excluding Councilor Merrily Mazza, have told Lafayette community members that drilling was highly unlikely in Lafayette.  How many times have residents heard: “The last well was drilled in Lafayette 24 years ago.”  As though past experience predicts the future, the community was comforted.  No more.  This stance weakened public concern for an industry that, as we know all too well, imposes life and death risks to the women, men, and children of Lafayette. In 2013, councilors used this speaking point to warn residents against voting for ballot initiative 300, the Community Bill of Rights, which banned fracking and its infrastructure within the city limits.  In 2014, councilors and the city rejected a rights – based legal defense of the of the Community Bill of Rights. Last spring, the current council rewrote and weakened the Climate Bill of Rights, a proposed ordinance that community members brought to you to protect our town from the oil and gas industry.

This bureaucratic, passive, and visionless approach to the industry, by both elected city officials and the Boulder County Commissioners, has led Lafayette and Boulder County into the catastrophic position we now face: thousands of oil and gas wells, toxic industrial operations, in and around our community. Your leadership, by all definitions, has failed the people of this community and now poses a profound risk to the community as a whole.

At this critical moment we make the follow demands with the expectation that you begin,  for once, to follow the leadership of your community.

1. Lafayette City Councilors, current and prior, who made misleading statements to the public on the likelihood of drilling in our community will apologize and admit that these statements were wrong.

2. The Lafayette City Council will take immediate steps to replace the weakened measure adopted by Council in 2017 and to codify the Lafayette Climate Bill of Rights in its entirety, including the direct action components.

3. The City Council will demand that the Boulder County Commissioners adopt the Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights banning fossil fuel development.

4. Both the Lafayette City Council and Boulder County will accept the pro bono legal defense of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund to advance these the bills of rightsthough the legal system.

5. Council will cooperate with all community-led efforts to protect Lafayette and Boulder Countyto best inform, prepare, and organize citizens for a common defense of our families, our community, our environment, and our fundamental rights.

We believe these positions are fair, guided by the highest level of concern for our community, and informed by years of grassroots organizing on this critical issue. We will not accept any political/regulatory measures to make the drilling “less harmful,”  This activity must be banned. You will need to put your political careers at risk, as community members put their liberty at risk, to ensure that happens. Thank you for your attention and immediate response. Please respond as individuals so that we can accountably inform our neighbors and make additional preparations.

East Boulder County United