Date: December 6, 2017
Boulder County Protectors Cite Civil Rights Violations after County Official Sanctions Community Member for Nonviolent Protest
On November 7, 2017, David Paul, a member of the Boulder County Protectors engaging in peaceful protest, was issued a summons for trespassing by the City of Boulder police at the behest of Boulder County Attorney Ben Pearlman. Mr. Paul, a resident of Boulder County, was participating in a direct action outside an anniversary event for Boulder’s Open Space by projecting a “Ban Fracking” message on the Boulder County Courthouse—a warning to the public that Boulder County’s open space is now under threat from oil and gas drilling.
Mr. Paul, raising civil rights violations, has retained David Lane and Andrew McNulty of Killmer, Lane & Newman LLP (Denver) to defend him for the trespassing charge. Mr. Paul’s attorneys have filed a MOTION TO DISMISS on the pending criminal charge, stating that he did not violate the Boulder Municipal Code and his continued prosecution violates his First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution; and under Article II, Section 10 of the Colorado Constitution. See: http://suedelightbrigade.com/pdfs/2017-12-04MotionToDismiss.pdf
The disposition hearing for Mr. Paul’s trespassing charge is December 11, 2017, at 1 pm at the Boulder Municipal Court, 1777 6th St, Boulder. Following the hearing Mr. Paul, his attorneys, and members of the Boulder County Protectors will hold a press conference in front of the municipal court building and are expected to discuss civil rights implications raised by the trespassing summons.
The actions of the Boulder County Attorney and the Boulder municipal government foreshadow harsher sanctions as oil and gas operations become a deadly reality in Boulder County. Political officials now find themselves in conflict with both public demands and the needs of the climate and environment. Officeholders and staff, committed to enforcing state law on behalf of operators like Extraction, Crestone and Anadarko, clearly show their intention–not to protect Boulder County from drilling but rather to repress public dissent.
The Boulder County Protectors call on the Boulder County Commissioners to represent the citizens who put them in office rather than the oil and gas industry. We expect them to:
Stop all plans to begin drilling in Boulder County.
End scientifically misleading statements that fracking can be made safe.
Join with community members to protect the environment and fundamental rights of all Boulder County citizens.
Enact the Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights and Protections.
East Boulder County United and the Boulder County Protectors stand firmly behind the actions of Mr. Paul. We will continue to protect the County from the lethal dangers of fossil fuel extraction and will defend all individuals exercising their right to freedom of speech and political dissent at this critical time.
We demand that the City of Boulder drop all charges against David Paul and affirm its commitment to preserve the people’s fundamental right to political dissent. In addition, we call on the Boulder County Commissioners to issue a public statement condemning the actions of County Attorney Ben Pearlman and committing to stand with the community against the oil and gas industry.
The Boulder County Protectors’ Narrative
– Fracking and democracy cannot coexist. Where they conflict, one must always go.
– We seek to elevate the rights of communities over the rights of corporations.
– Industry and politicians will respond to our efforts with repressive measures, underscoring the fact that this battle is a civil rights issue.
– Protection of the environment from oil and gas becomes a civil rights issue when the Boulder County government represses free speech and public discourse at the same time they bring fracking into Boulder County.
– The more we assert our rights as citizens and communities, the more government bodies will step up to oppress us.
– We have always viewed the conflict to be corporate legal superiority over the rights of citizens, communities and the environment. We can no longer live with that conflict. The consequences are far too great for all of us. We must elevate the rights of communities over oil and gas in Boulder County.
– Boulder County needs to pass the Climate Bill of Rights and Protections including direct action enforcement.
The Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights and Protections
Be it therefore enacted:
We the people of Boulder County, Colorado, declare alignment with the Seven Generations principle of the indigenous First Nations, understand the environment as common to all and base our actions upon its indefinite protection;
We the People of Boulder County, Colorado, find that global environmental destruction, which includes degradation to the climate, ecosystems, flora, fauna, land, and water, constitutes an emergency that threatens our very survival;
We the People of Boulder County, Colorado, find that the extraction of coal, oil and gas, and disposal of drilling waste within the County would significantly contribute to global environmental destruction; and therefore,
We the People of Boulder County, Colorado, declare that we have a right to a healthy climate, and that right is violated by the extraction of coal, oil and gas, and disposal of drilling waste within the County.
§2.0 A County of Boulder, Colorado, Climate Bill of Rights
(a) Right to a Healthy Climate. All residents and ecosystems of the County of Boulder possess a right to a healthy climate, which shall include the right to be free from all activities that interfere with that right, including the extraction of coal, oil, or gas, or disposal of drilling waste within the County of Boulder.
(b) Right to Local, Community Self-Government. All residents of the County of Boulder possess the right to a form of governance which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people of the County and that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and consent. Laws adopted by the people of the County shall only be preempted or nullified if they interfere with rights secured by the state or federal constitution to the people of the County, or if they interfere with protections provided to the people or ecosystems of the County by state, federal, or international law.
(c) Right to Enforce. All residents of the County of Boulder possess the right to enforce this law. To secure this right, entities which violate the people’s right to a healthy climate shall not be deemed to be “persons,” nor possess any other legal rights, privileges, powers, or protections which would interfere with the enforcement of that right.
(d) Right to Defense. Residents of the County of Boulder possess the right to have the County government of Boulder defend this law on the basis that a constitutional right of local, community self-government exists, that this law is an assertion of that right as it seeks to expand the rights of the people of the County of Boulder, and that the doctrines of ceiling preemption, municipal subordinancy to state government, or corporate “rights” unconstitutionally violate the right of the residents of the County of Boulder to local, community self-government.
§3.0 Direct Enforcement
(a) Direct Action Enforcement. If the County of Boulder fails to enforce or defend this law, or a court
fails to uphold this law, any person may enforce this law through nonviolent direct action. If nonviolent direct action is taken to enforce the provisions of this law, law enforcement personnel employed by the County of Boulder shall be prohibited from arresting or detaining persons directly enforcing this law. “Direct action” as used by this provision shall mean any activities carried out to directly enforce the prohibitions of this law.