The Community Rights Movement to the New Hampshire House: Let the People Decide What’s Best

BY JOHN COLLINS

 When you combine an economic system that requires constant growth in order to function, with a legal system that mistakes corporations for “people”—you inevitably wind up with a few extremely powerful corporations and a lot of powerless citizens. Furthermore, when that same system regards nature as property, thus allowing those in control to do whatever they see fit with a given area’s natural resources, long-term ecological health takes a backseat to short-term profits. For decades, communities across the country have been learning this lesson the hard way.
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Decrying ‘Dog-Eat-Dog System,’ #PoorPeoplesCampaign Kicks Off 40 Days of ‘Moral Action’

“We are witnessing an assault on the poor, on immigrants, on black and brown people, and on the Earth, and we can’t let it happen any longer.”

by

n Washington, D.C. and more than two dozen states across the country on Monday, supporters of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival gathered to kick off 40 days of “moral action” to highlight “the human impact of policies which promote systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and environmental devastation.”

Led by co-chairs Rev. Dr. William J. Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis—and inspired by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s original Poor People’s Campaign in the late 1960s—the campaign, which was announced last year, livestreamed a press conference from D.C. and delivered to lawmakers a letter outlining their demands for policy changes.

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THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HELPED A COUNTY PROSECUTOR TARGET THE FACEBOOK RECORDS OF ANTI-PIPELINE ACTIVISTS

January 14 2018, 11:35 a.m.

NINE MONTHS AFTER pipeline opponents in Washington state staged a protest that blocked freeway traffic, Facebook ended a protracted legal standoff with a county prosecutor, turning over detailed records on the indigenous-led group behind the demonstration. Despite the fact that no criminal charges have been filed in connection with the February action, Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney David McEachran repeatedly sought a warrant for the group’s Facebook page, ultimately securing private information including messages to and from the page and a list of everyone “invited” to the protest event.

McEachran’s first two warrant applications were withdrawn after the American Civil Liberties Union and Facebook raised objections. On the third try, however, the warrant was granted thanks to Facebook’s suggestion that McEachran’s office seek formal guidance from the nation’s top law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice. A public records request filed by The Intercept shows that the local agency and its federal counterpart cooperated to draft the ultimately successful warrant using a DOJ template.

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Fracking Waste Lawsuit Highlights Dangerous Trend of Corporations Targeting Community Rights Defenders

By Simon Davis-Cohen

In early January, a federal judge ordered the nonprofit law firm Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) to pay $52,000 to an oil and gas exploration company for defending a rural Pennsylvania township’s ban on underground injections of fracking waste.

This sanction comes at the request of Pennsylvania General Energy Company (PGE) and the Pennsylvania Independent Oil & Gas Association, but is part of a growing trend to prevent municipalities across the nation from pushing back against state and federal attempts to overrule them.

Starting in 2012, PGE proposed an injection well which, according to Grant Township’s Board of Supervisors, “would receive 30,000 barrels [1.26 million gallons] of frack wastewater per month for 10 years.” The board of supervisors for this small community near Pittsburgh warned that the injection well “threatens to subject every resident of Grant Township to a slow poisoning, and threatens thousands more who depend on Grant Township’s watershed for clean water.”

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Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: December 6, 2017

Contacts:

David Paul— 720.275.1350stupaul22@gmail.com

Dylan Podel— 303.883.3657dypo3782@gmail.com

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:

 

§1.0 Findings

 

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.

 

East Boulder County United & Boulder County Protectors Newsletter November 26, 2017

7th Generation Youth Council, Honoring Our Mother Earth, Spirit Horse Nation and East Boulder County United hosted internationally renowned Native artists Isaac Murdoch and Christi Belcourt for a weekend of art making, music and Native story telling. The artists are part of the Onaman Collective and have become synonymous with the visual images of the First Nations struggle at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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Want a shirt with Murdoch and Belcourt’s images made at the Art Build? Email us and let us know, so we can get it to you. The shirts cost $20. These funds support us in our work to protect Boulder County.

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 News

Election News:  Merrily Mazza of East Boulder County United retained her seat on the Lafayette City Council.  Broomfield citizens passed the citizen-initiated ballot issue 301.

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The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) published a reportidentifying Oil and Gas operations on the northern Front range as a significant source for harmful ozone levels.

Erie citizens uncovered violations by Crestone Peak Resources at a plug and abandon operation 25 yards from Aspen Ridge Preparatory School, in which VOCs were vented over the school playground.  Check out Erie Protectors website run by a dedicated group of volunteers shining a light on this industry in their town.

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In Case You Missed It

In early November, Suede Light Brigade projected a protest message at a City of Boulder Open Space Anniversary gala.  County Attorney Ben Pearlman ordered an officer to issue Suede a citation for this free speech display. The ACLU has weighed in, stating that this was a first amendment violation.  We will follow up with this important story.

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Events & Meetings

Direct Action Training Sunday, December 3 from noon – 3pm at Scornavacco Family Karate. Join the Boulder County Protectors in a half day training on the theory, use and application of nonviolent direct action to protect our communities from fracking.

EBCU Branch meetings

Lafayette, Longmont and Boulder.  These are the general planning meetings for East Boulder County United. We review new developments, strategize next tasks, and bring new volunteers in to join those already hard at work to stop drilling in Boulder County. Join us.

 

Lafayette – 2nd and 4th Mondays, 7-830pm at Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocers 100 W South Boulder Rd Lafayette, CO 80026

 

Longmont – 2nd and 4th Thursdays, 730-9pm typically at Longmont Public Library 409 4th Ave, Longmont, CO 80501

 

Boulder – 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 6-8pm, private residence at 4209 26th St Boulder CO 80304

Call To Action

  • Help us raise awareness about fracking in Boulder County by by doorknocking with us in Lafayette and Longmont.  Email Theresa to do this.
  • Join any of our volunteer teams to stop fracking in Boulder County – you can do this on our volunteer intake form.
  • Donate to East Boulder County United. We are an all-volunteer organization. We need funds for outreach efforts, meetings, speakers and legal funds.
  • Write letters to the Lafayette City Councilors asking them to restore the original Climate Bill of Rights
  • Write letters to the editor supporting our narrative – here’s a friendly guide 
  • Attend and/or follow our Lafayette City Council and planning commission meetings.  Remind them we have a fracking ban in place.
  • Call our County Commissioners and ask them to pass the Boulder County Climate Bill of Rights
  • Follow East Boulder County United on Facebook, share events and posts
  • Order and display your Boulder County Protectors yard sign atyardsigns2017@gmail.com

Colorado River v. Colorado with Will Falk

By Will Falk

In the war for social and environmental justice, even the best lawyers rarely serve as anything more than battlefield medics.

They do what they can to stop the bleeding for the people, places, and causes suffering on the front lines, but they do not possess the weapons to return fire in any serious way. Lawyers lack effective weapons because American law functions to protect those in power from the rest of us; effective legal weapons are, quite literally, outlawed.

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