Activist’s Attempt at Convincing Longmont to Enact Fracking Moratorium Falls Flat
After failing to garner enough statewide support to place a pair of ballot initiatives to ban fracking on the ballot this fall, activists are taking their campaign back to the local level, and are getting the same results.
The latest failure came last night when Karen Dike, a lead proponent of the failed initiatives, attempted to persuade Longmont City Council members to adopt a one-year moratorium on fracking within the city limits. As the Longmont Times-Call reports:
“Dike said Longmont residents demand the council enact a moratorium because the oil and gas regulations that survived a lawsuit were written in 2012 and are now out of date.”
But Longmont City Council members were not too enthusiastic about that idea. Also from the Times-Call:
“Councilwoman Bonnie Finley said she has faith in Longmont’s regulations and wouldn’t see a need to update. Councilman Jeff Moore said that if the city can deal with minor details in the regulations in less than a year, he didn’t know whether they should enact a moratorium.”
Longmont mayor, Dennis Coombs said he is “not there yet” while other council members alluded to a recent state Supreme Court decision ruling that Longmont’s now defunct fracking ban was illegal. From the Times-Call:
“Councilman Gabe Santos said ‘it’s very obvious that the (Colorado) Supreme Court has ruled on that topic,’ when asked about Dike’s proposal. Santos refused to answer further questions about whether he supported or opposed a moratorium.”
Colorado’s local communities have long been a target of national activist organizations seeking to drive oil and gas development out of the state. Groups like Karen Dike’s longtime national partners, Food & Water Watch, The Sierra Club and Earthworks even joined the Longmont case as petitioners in support of local fracking bans. Now, it appears that Dike is once-again falling back on their strategy of masking their goal for a fracking ban with calls for increased regulation. As the Times-Call reports:
“Dike said she thought a moratorium was appropriate so the city could examine Longmont’s rules and regulations…‘The reason we call for a moratorium isn’t to keep fracking out; it would be to look at the regulations,’ Dike told the Times-Call.”
Of course, it is well known that Dike’s real interest is to ban fracking, along with the economic and climate benefits that come along with it. As EID previously reported, acting as a spokesperson for Coloradans Against Fracking (CAF) earlier this year, Karen Dike kicked-off a conference call with supporters of the initiatives by recounting a series of anti-energy demonstrations organized by the group before she told participants:
“None of these actions, as important as they are, is enough to halt this toxic industry.”
With that effort now abandoned due to a lack of support, it is clear that Dike is not giving up. In other words, anti-fracking activists won’t let things like a lack of public support, the law or facts get in the way of their ban-fracking ideology. But Coloradans – and clearly the Longmont City Council– aren’t buying it.