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Ohio Utica Shale

First-of-its-kind lawsuit aims to protect Colorado home rule

By Bob Downing Published: June 11, 2014

From the Colorado-based Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund on Tuesday:

LAFAYETTE, CO:Today, residents of Lafayette, CO, filed a first-of-its-kind class action lawsuit against the State of Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper, and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.The lawsuit was filed to protect the rights of the people of Lafayette to self-governance, including their right to ban fracking.

 

In November 2013, residents of Lafayette overwhelmingly adopted a Home Rule Charter Amendment banning all new commercial extraction of natural gas and oil within the City limits.The Amendment establishes a Community Bill of Rights - including the right of human and natural communities to water and a healthy environment.The Bill of Rights bans fracking and other extraction as a violation of those rights.

 

In December, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association filed a lawsuit against the City of Lafayette to overturn the Community Bill of Rights.The association is contending that the community does not have the legal authority to protect itself from fracking, and that corporate members of the association have the constitutional “right” to frack.

 

In filing the class action lawsuit, the residents of Lafayette are arguing that the Colorado Oil and Gas Act, and the industry’s enforcement of the Act, violate the constitutional right of residents of the community to local self-government.

 

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assisted Lafayette residents to draft the Community Bill of Rights.CELDF is providing its support and expertise to the residents of Lafayette with the filing of the class action lawsuit.

 

Regarding today’s action, CELDF Executive Director, Thomas Linzey, Esq., stated, “This class action lawsuit is merely the first of many by people across the United States whose constitutional rights to govern their own communities are routinely violated by state governments working in concert with the corporations that they ostensibly regulate.The people of Lafayette will not stand idly by as their rights are negotiated away by oil and gas corporations, their state government, and their own municipal government.”

 

Through grassroots organizing and public interest law, CELDF works with communities across the country to establish Community Rights to democratic, local self-governance and sustainability. CELDF has assisted more than 150 communities to ban shale gas drilling and fracking, factory farming, and water privatization, and eliminate corporate “rights” when they violate community and nature’s rights.This includes assisting the first communities in the U.S. to establish Rights of Nature in law, as well as the first communities to eliminate corporate constitutional “rights.”

 

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