“Some early news reports inaccurately portrayed this vote as a ban,” notes CSCCR board member Karyna Lemus, “so it’s understandable the city wanted to correct that – especially since some city councilors don’t want to find the city in the crosshairs of Colorado’s fracking-manic governor.” CSCCR board member Dave Gardner speculated, “It’s possible this release was motivated by the desire by pro-fracking city councilors not to run off the oil industry, just because they lost in this vote.”
CSCCR and other groups opposed to permitting drilling and fracking in the city, and groups opposed to poorly regulating this activity, did celebrate Tuesday’s defeat of the proposed regulations, which have been heavily criticized. This is because the defeat leaves in place city zoning regulations that prohibit oil and gas operations in areas not zoned agricultural. “Most of the citizens of this community think it would be absurd to allow drilling and fracking in a residential zone,” commented Dave Gardner. “Contrary to the City’s news release, the proposed regulations do address fracking, since fracking is the only thing currently making drilling in this area attractive to the industry. If you don’t allow drilling, you are – in effect – prohibiting fracking.”
Official CSCCR Statement: We are pleased the wholly inadequate oil and gas regulations were not adopted. Their approval would have opened the door to drilling and fracking in all zones of the city. Those who want to see this heavy, hazardous, and polluting industry prohibited throughout the city understand there is still work to be done. Research has shown us that regulations are simply not enough. No regulations can make fracking wise and risk-free, and the risks of fracking vastly outweigh any perceived benefits.
CSCCR applauds Councilmembers Martin, Williams, Snider and Hente for supporting our right to local, democratic self governance and defending our right to clean water, air and soil, which proposed regulations would have failed to protect. We are now embarking on a campaign to place a Bill of Rights charter amendment banning fracking on the ballot this November. We remain committed to educating the public and reasserting our inalienable right to community self government, pure water, air, soil and healthy ecosystems by challenging current laws and regulations which fail to do this.
On March 5 CSCCR filed with the City Clerk a statement of intent to circulate a petition to place the charter amendment on the November ballot. CSCCR also asked City Council on March 12 to consider placing the amendment on the ballot.
Six organizations joined to organize a rally in front of City Hall before Tuesday’s council meeting (CSCCR, Pikes Peak Alliance for the Future, Green Cities Coalition, 350.org, Thoughtful Committed Citizens at UCCS, and Pikes Peak Group of Sierra Club). Over 100 citizens gathered on a cold, gray, snowy day and heard from speakers that included former Colorado Springs Vice Mayor Richard Skorman, former EPA geological engineer Wes Wilson, and former Bureau of Reclamation water policy official Phil Doe.
At the rally, Richard Skorman said, “I would say ‘No.’ Colorado Springs does not need this for who we are as a community. When you think about Colorado Springs you think about our beautiful outdoor life, our clean air, one of the cities with the cleanest air in the country, water that’s primary source water from the mountains that’s a privilege to drink.” Rally photographs and video are available to the media on request. 4 photos are on the following pages.