June 21–Lafayette’sCity Council is scheduled to vote at its July 3 meeting on the proposed oil and gas regulations that were derailed Tuesday night by an anti-fracking protest, city spokeswoman Debbie Wilmot said.
Leaders also are expected to vote on other agenda items that were suspended after council members were forced to adjourn their Tuesday meeting early when dozens of residents and activists interrupted attorney Jeffrey Robbins’ presentation on the proposed drilling rules.
“We are the people of Lafayette, Colorado,” they shouted, spurring council members to adjourn the meeting and promptly leave the building. “We are the people of Boulder County. We will not be silenced. No drills! No pipelines!”
Some of the requirements included in the proposed regulations include a mapping of flow lines throughout the city, setback requirements, community engagement and ground and air mitigation. The new drilling rules are fashioned almost identically to those administered by Boulder County.
Some of the proposal’s other focuses detail mapping requirements that include existing well sites, mineral interests, producing, closed, abandoned and shut-in wells, and any other oil and gas operations within one mile of the site; hazards, floodplains and potential traffic impacts, among others.
Those opposed to the regulation overhaul have long maintained that they would directly conflict with the city’s Climate Bill, which many argue already serves as an effective ban on drilling in Lafayette.
Ahead of the council takeover, children pressed signs against the council chamber’s back glass reading “no drilling, no pipelines,” and a slew of residents filled the lobby in a last ditch effort to persuade leaders to vote against the new rules.
After council members left the building, protestors occupied the chambers for another half an hour. They posed for pictures, sang songs and chanted traditional protest refrains before departing to a nearby bar.
At the July meeting, the council is also expected to approve a series of code amendments that would require prospective developers to make their development plans more accessible to the public ahead of a City Council decision, an amendment that could add several extra months to the process.
The council also will announce its two new appointments to the city’s planning commission.
It’s unclear what measures the city will take at the upcoming meeting to avoid a similar deterioration — “It will be business as usual,” Wilmot said — or if the city plans to beef up security.
Whether or not they do, Cliff Willmeng of East Boulder County United said Wednesday that activists are expected to turn out again in full force, though it’s unclear if a similar takeover is planned.
“We don’t know what those tactics might be,” Willmeng said of the group’s plans, “but beyond the tactics — it is a political position, that we are not going to lay down and let our government become a broker for the oil and gas industry, we are quite resolute in that.”
Similar tactics have lead to arrests in the past, which Willmeng says he hopes to avoid.
“The short answer is yes (we would be willing to be arrested),” he added, “but it really would be a shame for our local government to use physical acts of coercion against its own community on behalf of oil and gas.”
Anthony Hahn: 303-473-1422, email@example.com or twitter.com/_anthonyhahn
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