Phil Doe testifies in favor of HB 16-1310

Today, Be The Change Environmental Director Phil Doe testified in favor of Colorado HB 1310, which holds operators liable for oil and gas operations in the state. Below is Phil’s testimony:

 

We strongly support HB 16-1310.

Fracking is a dangerous industrial activity. A recently published scientific study, only five days old, gives added muscular support to this widely held and demonstrable assertion.

Reviewing nearly all the peer reviewed research papers on fracking published between 2009 and 2015, the authors of this new study found that:

1. 685 papers on the various health and safety aspects of fracking had been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

2. 84% of public health studies contain findings that indicate public health hazards, elevated risks, or adverse health outcomes;

3. 69% of water quality studies contain findings that indicate potential, positive association, or actual incidence of water contamination;

4. and 87% of air quality studies contain findings that indicate elevated air pollutant emissions and/or atmospheric concentrations.

This study did not treat seismicity directly, but it still gives added compelling evidence, if any were needed, of the danger associated with fracking, one of which this bill addresses. Moreover, HB 1310 moves in the direction of sanity and supports our state constitution’s admonition in the Bill of Rights concerning political power and to whom it rightfully belongs:

“All political power is vested in and derived from the people,… originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.”

The Oil and Gas Conservation Act is an abuse of this constitutional guiding principle, and this is really what I came here to say, for it steals away the people’s right to self determination and bestows it ignominiously on the oil and gas industry. If this were not true, if this had not been done, you would not have the growing rebellion by citizens in cities and towns threatened by fracking, and you would not have this bill before you today.

In summation, I implore you all to review a decision made by your legislative predecessors. They gave the COGCC the right of preemption. In so doing they took away the rights of the people to self-determination on all matter oil and gas. They acted unlawfully, unconstitutionally, in my opinion, for they effectively revoked the constitutional guaranteed right of the people to legislate directly through the initiative process, Article V–The right to determine by popular vote what is best for their city, neighborhoods, and, yes, even state.

Such an abridgement of rights cannot stand, for as Tom Paine correctly observed in the Rights of Man, “The strength of government and the happiness of the governed” is sustained only when the common people have freedom to “mutually and naturally support each other.”

Also, I would like to invite your attention to a very recent legal review of the whole initiative process and how the state has acted illegally to thwart the peoples right to direct democracy. The author is attorney Dan Leftwich. His brilliant paper can be found at : http://minddrivelegal.com/blog/

Phillip Doe
Environmental Director
Be the Change

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