Hold Our Ground is a citizen-led effort by Boulder County residents and environmental attorneys who do not consent to fracking in our community. We are asserting our fundamental rights to protect our homes, public health and safety and our environment.
This grassroots work is not just for Boulder County. We are creating innovative legal precedents to help communities across Colorado and the nation have legal grounds to stand up for our basic rights against antiquated laws that do not take into account the dangers of the current practices of the oil and gas industry.
Donations to our Boulder County legal defense fund are tax deductible, payable to Earthworks.
Will you stand with us to hold our ground for water, land, wildlife, people and our children's children's climate?
The COGCC vs. Martinez decision in 2017 changed the legal playing field in Colorado. This landmark decision requires the state regulatory agency that issues drilling permits, the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), to prioritize public health and safety over industry mineral extraction. Our lead attorney, Dan Leftwich of MindDrive Legal Services, serves as co-counsel along with Our Children's Trust on this winning decision at the Colorado Court of Appeals. The decision now stands as law in Colorado. Contact us to stay informed when the case is scheduled to be defended at the Colorado Supreme Court. It is essential that our legal team successfully defend this vital decision to help ALL communities in Colorado have a sound legal foundation to prevent ANY drilling permits being issued in Boulder County and the state of Colorado.
Legal Paths for Boulder County
1. Seek Injunction.
Every person has certain essential and inalienable rights, including the right to enjoy and defend our lives and liberties; acquire, possess and protect our property; and seek and obtain our safety and happiness. If the state regulatory agency issues drilling permits in Boulder County, one immediate recourse is to file a motion for preliminary injunction.
2. Protect Boulder County Open space.
The people of Boulder County have invested over $100 million in three Open Space sales & tax ballot initiatives since 1993 to create our Open Space Program. The Open Space is only to be used for three intended purposes: agriculture, passive recreation, and environmental conservation. We intend to defend our Open Space land where O&G development is NOT an acceptable use. We will also raise constitutional rights to protect our public health and safety, property value, and the environment. Download a legal view written by lead attorney Dan Leftwich outlining fiduciary responsibilities of the Boulder County Commissioners to honor their agreement with the voters and provide funds to help support a citizen-led legal defense of the Open Space.
3. Re-establish the Right of Local Initiative.
Local bans and moratoria along the Front Range were overturned using the legal concept of "preemption." Preemption is based on an 1800's ruling (Dillon's Law) that established the superiority of one form of government over another, for example the state over counties or local municipalities. Preemption only worked in Longmont and Ft. Collins because the state sued the city councils. However, preemption does NOT apply to citizens. Citizens have the right to bring constitutional law claims. We will assert fundamental rights of the highest order to challenge archaic Colorado oil and gas laws that were created before we saw the dangers of fracking to people's health and safety, damage to our property value, and environment.
On April 17th, an explosion in Firestone blew a house off of its foundation and killed two men. The house sat 170 feet from an abandoned well and old pipeline where methane migrated undetected into the basement of the home. As a result, Anadarko has shut down 3,000 wells in Colorado. This catastrophic event demonstrates the unsafe practices of the O&G industry which has not properly tracked and capped abandoned wells. Industrial scale well pads are now getting permits with minimal set back distances from homes and schools that do not adequately protect children, teachers or parents from cancer-causing emissions produced during drilling and fracking. Explosions, leaks and spills of toxic chemical-laden fluids, and the release of benzene in the air make drilling and fracking a dangerous industrial oil and gas activity that is not acceptable in Boulder County.
Our state has had six oil & gas explosions since Firestone and an average of two reported leaks or spills per day.
We Have a Unique Opportunity
Boulder County is the right place and now is the time to protect our Open Space land AND create new law for Colorado and this nation showing people and the environment come before the financial gains of an industry that keeps us tied to fossil fuels.
Our legal team includes experienced litigators who have successfully won major class action anti-trust cases against 3M, Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, General Electric and other large companies. Our attorneys are dedicated to protecting community's rights to stop fracking, overturn the stranglehold of state preemption, and establish the right of citizen initiative. MindDrive Legal Services based in Boulder, CO is taking the lead to develop statutory and constitutional arguments to block the drilling permits. Dan Leftwich was part of the winning legal effort that won us a five-year moratorium on O&G development in Boulder County from 2012-2017, helped five municipalities along the Front Range win ballot measures, and successfully file and defend the first citizen case against the COGCC (please see below.)
Our lead attorney served as co-counsel on the winning law suit - Martinez vs COGCC (Download Court of Appeals file: Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Representing youth plaintiffs, this decision created new law in Colorado. In a landmark opinion, the Court of Appeals ruled that protection of public health, safety and the environment is a mandatory condition that must be met before oil and gas development can be authorized. This decision states the right to a livable climate is a higher priority than mineral rights extraction and prohibits the state regulatory agency from issuing ANY drilling permits, including in Boulder County, that may threaten public health and safety and the climate. We must defend this decision at the Colorado Supreme Court. Please contact us if you are able to contribute to our legal defense with a tax deductible donation. Thank you.