Today [November 6, 2012] is a historic day for the city of Longmont, Colorado. Nearly 60 percent of Longmont voters approved an amendment to the city’s charter to prohibit hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, and disposal of waste products connected with the process within city limits.
For more than six months Longmont and its citizens have been of threatened, bullied and out-spent by the oil and gas industry. Longmont’s victory over this highly industrialized and dangerous oil and gas extraction process signals to communities throughout the state and the nation that they can and will prevail over state officials who answer to the oil and gas industry rather than to their constituents.
According to Michael Bellmont, a member of Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont (Our Longmont), “We have shown that Big Oil money does NOT always win and that our constitutionally guaranteed right to health, safety, and protection of property is NOT for sale. We proved that ordinary citizens with very little money but a lot of determination, intelligence, passion and boot leather can prevail.”
Over 100 volunteers worked in hot summer days to gather the necessary signatures to place the measure on the ballot. Over 8,200 signatures were submitted, well over the 5,700 required to move the measure to today’s ballot. Also, more than 200 citizens contributed the funds necessary to carry out the Yes on 300 campaign. The opposition raised over a half-million dollars to oppose Question 300. All of their funds came from the oil and gas industry and their trade associations. Not one Longmont resident contributed.
“The people of Longmont have made history: they have chosen to ban fracking,” said Sam Schabacker, a Longmont area native and Mountain West Regional Director for Food & Water Watch, the national consumer group who supported Our Longmont’s efforts. “Longmont residents were not frightened away or fooled by the oil and gas industry’s attempt to buy the election, to the tune of $500,000, through deceptive and threatening TV commercials, full-page newspaper advertisements and multiple mailers. Hopefully this citizen-led effort will inspire other communities to stand up and protect their health, safety and property against the risky practice of fracking as well.
Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont, a group of concerned citizens from throughout Longmont, believes that Longmont has a right to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of our community. By protecting the health, safety, and welfare of our citizens, we will preserve our economic vitality, our home values, our water, parks, wildlife, lakes, trails, streams, open space, recreational areas and our quality of life for ourselves and future generations.