PRESS RELEASE: Lafayette, Colorado, Community Members Introduce Climate Bill of Rights and Protectio

Press Release


Date: January 2, 2016


East Boulder County United


Kristin McLean: 303 641-8901

Merrily Mazza, 720 556-1286

Legal: Thomas Linzey, Esq, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, 717 498-0054

Lafayette Community Members Introduce Climate Bill of Rights and Protections

What: Lafayette Community Members Introduce Climate Bill of Rights and Protections to City Council, Pledge Environmental Defense of Boulder County

When: Lafayette City Council meeting Tuesday, January 3, approximately 7pm depending on meeting agenda.

Where: 1290 S. Public Road, Lafayette Colorado

The people of Lafayette, Colorado have introduced an ordinance for formal adoption to the Lafayette City Council. The measure titled, “Climate Bill of Rights and Protections” is a law that will codify the right to a healthy climate and community member’s ability to enforce this right through community led, nonviolent direct action. It is based on the First Nation principle of protecting the environment for seven generations.

The measure will be introduced by two Lafayette City Councilors, Councilor Gustavo Reyna and Councilor Merrily Mazza, at the January 3rd meeting.

If the measure is approved Lafayette will become the second community nationally to adopt such a measure. Grant Township Pennsylvania legalized the defense of their community through nonviolent civil disobedience earlier this year when it was faced with threats from a proposed fracking waste injection well.

Pennsylvania Township Legalizes Civil Disobedience

The Climate Bill of Rights and Protections is part of the larger effort to protect Lafayette and Boulder County from nearly 2000 possible oil and gas wells. Trainings for nonviolent direct action are ongoing and are seeing capacity levels of participants. East Boulder County United has stated that no drilling will be permitted, and the protection of the environment and climate is an inalienable right shared by all.

“As a mother and a citizen of Lafayette, I’m tired of state and local governments and corporations telling me that I have no rights to prevent my community from being poisoned by fracking. I will protect my family from toxic industry coming into my backyard, and I am standing up for health and safety and my right to local self government.”

- Kristin McLean, mother, Lafayette resident

The Climate Bill of Rights And Protections will be enforced directly by local community members should the Lafayette Council fail to pass the measure by a majority of votes. The campaign beginning in Lafayette will address Boulder County moving forward after the meetings of the Lafayette City Council.

“As a local business owner I find that any ordinance protecting our environment is a must. We have the right to clean air, clean water and a clean nurturing environment. We have the right to not compromise the quality of our health, our life and the life of our planet. And our children have the RIGHT to NOT spend their lives fighting the diseases and ramifications of the waste left behind.”

- Bill Pomeroy, Owner, East Simpson Coffee

Lafayette was one of many communities sued by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association after enactment of the Community Bill of Rights in 2013. The ballot measure, which is to date the most comprehensive ban on fossil fuels in Colorado history, won enactment by a vote of over 60% of the electorate. The Lafayette City Council declined to appeal the decision of the lower court, which sided with COGA and the State of Colorado, citing legal expenses, which amounted to over $60,000. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund has volunteered to defend the Climate Bill of Rights and Protection pro bono should it pass the Council vote and be challenged in court.

Our position moving forward:

1. We have spoken clearly on the issue of oil and gas development and it is resolved that we do not want drilling in Lafayette and Boulder County under any circumstances. It is a violation of our land, the health of our families, and the well being of our communities.

2. Any attempt to forcefully move fracking into Lafayette and Boulder County is a violation of our fundamental rights.

3. The laws that seek to remove us from control of our land, our local environment, and our right to self govern are in every way immoral and illegitimate.

4. We have the right and obligation to protect our environment, our families, and our communities.

5. All government officials and staff will be asked to side with the people in every capacity, refuse to administer the destruction of our land, and enforce the will of the community to protect us from any intrusive industry that fails to recognize these fundamental rights.

“It has come time to move beyond the failed and illegitimate demands of the fossil fuel industry and the Colorado Oil and Gas Act. We are obligated as people and government to protect the local environment and the rights of Lafayette community members. When people step forward to defend those most important things, we will ensure they are not harmed in any way meant to penalize them for doing so. The people of Colorado and this beautiful land have suffered enough. Its time to take new, bold, and necessary steps forward to protect the climate and all those dependent upon it”.

- Merrily Mazza, Lafayette City Councilor

The proposed ordinance


A City of Lafayette, Colorado, Climate Bill of Rights and Protections

Be it therefore enacted:

§1.0 Findings

We the people of Lafayette 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 the City of Lafayette, 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 the City of Lafayette, Colorado, find that the extraction of coal, oil and gas, and disposal of drilling waste within the City would significantly contribute to global environmental destruction; and therefore,

We the People of the City of Lafayette, 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 City.

§2.0 A City of Lafayette, Colorado, Climate Bill of Rights

(a) Right to a Healthy Climate. All residents and ecosystems of the City of Lafayette 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 City of Lafayette.

(b) Right to Local, Community Self-Government. All residents of the City of Lafayette possess the right to a form of governance which recognizes that all power is inherent in the people of the City and that all free governments are founded on the people’s authority and consent. Laws adopted by the people of the City shall only be preempted or nullified if they interfere with rights secured by the state or federal constitution to the people of the City, or if they interfere with protections provided to the people or ecosystems of the City by state, federal, or international law.

(c) Right to Enforce. All residents of the City of Lafayette 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 City of Lafayette possess the right to have the City government of Lafayette 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 City of Lafayette, and that the doctrines of ceiling preemption, municipal subordinancy to state government, or corporate “rights” unconstitutionally violate the right of the residents of the City of Lafayette to local, community self-government.

§3.0 Direct Enforcement

(a) Direct Action Enforcement. If the City of Lafayette 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 City of Lafayette 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.

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