From the State of Colorado, we would like to take this time to thank you for your coverage of the people fighting for community rights, and against the dangerous and inherently undemocratic Jordan Cove LNG facility. We write this as people in daily struggle with the production side of this issue, which here in Colorado has become widely known as a statewide battle against fracking. We see your efforts to protect your communities as an extension of our own, and would like to extend our gratitude and support in every way.
The latest communications Oregon press and government may have received from politicians and industry representatives in Colorado do not convey the sentiment of our people fighting the fossil fuel industry. And because all congratulations you receive on the Jordan Cove facility can be tied to oil and gas money, we would advise you regard these words with the credibility of any infomercial.
Here in Colorado we know what it means to fight an industry with seemingly all power, politicians and legal privilege on its side. Our conflict with the fossil fuel industry is drawn along parallel lines as your own. Communities, faced with a nonstop assault of oil and gas drilling have produced heroic efforts to protect our people and environment. We have democratically passed local measures that have delayed or prohibited drilling next to our homes, schools and communities alongside a news media that routinely describes the latest spill, fire, explosion and other industrial accidents and catastrophes. We have watched our politicians line up with the big dollars and power of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association at it sues to overturn our local laws against fracking. We see the never-ending barrage of industry commercials and talking points, and have experienced the threats of international drilling corporations as they come to strip us of our health, welfare and basic, fundamental rights. This is done to gain access to the fossil fuels and the profits they represent.
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We would like to conclude by thanking you specifically for not shrinking from the larger fight against the very corporate legal privilege the fossil fuel industry will try to threaten you with. In Colorado it has become exceedingly clear that the real battle is over more than just fracking itself. Rather, it is about who makes decisions for our communities. The oil and gas industry knows that they cannot conduct business without repressing the demands of our communities, and so it is that very fight for our rights and democratic decision making which will lead our survival or demise. Like yourselves, we are fighting for these rights locally, and at the same time, running a state ballot initiative to codify our right to local self government. The efforts in each state are complimentary and among the most relevant of our times.
Let’s fight together, and create democracy in the most important place it can occur: where we live.
Cliff Willmeng, of Lafayette, Colo., is one of the founding members of East Boulder County United, the community group that banned fracking there in 2013, and is a plaintiff on the enforcement action lawsuit against the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the State of Colorado and Gov. John Hickenlooper. He is a board member of the Colorado Community Rights Network and has been a ballot initiative proponent for the Colorado Community Rights Amendment, which will be run in 2016. Willmeng is on the Board of Directors of the National Community Rights Network.