Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Dani Hemmat
editorial@lhvc.com 

Anti-fracking group gathering momentum

 

January 18, 2019



The work for Gunbarrel residents to keep Heatherwood free from fracking has only just begun, according to Keep Heatherwood Frack-Free.

After the well-attended town hall meeting in Gunbarrel, organizers from the leadership team have started reaching out to potential volunteers to harness the mixed feelings of disbelief, indignation and concern that community members shared at the Dec. 19 meeting.

Organizers of Keep Heatherwood Frack-Free said they have been working to create a group that is more inclusive of Boulder County in general to address the health, safety and environmental issues that come with fracking. The team has met once since the town hall and Amanda Janusz, a volunteer co-chair for the research arm of the group, feels good about the folks who have been working to help fight for safer energy options.

“I’m overwhelmed with the amount of people stepping up to be a part of this important cause and volunteer their time and energy to research how fracking might negatively impact the health and safety of people, wildlife, and the environment,” Janusz said. “I’m hoping that we will gain a full understanding of these issues so that real change can occur on a legislative and practical level.”

“The people of Boulder County have spoken and the majority do not want fracking near their neighborhoods,” she said. “There are plenty of areas where oil and gas can be extracted safely, without interfering with the lives of people who understand the implications fracking has, especially right next to their neighborhoods and protected open space.”

While the fight against such a large issue and powerful industry might seem hopeless to many, organizers are working to break down tasks into manageable chunks so that concerned citizens are able to take on what they can handle. The group intends being a collective force to not only fight fracking in Heatherwood, but to help change legislation so that Colorado communities won’t be subjected to what they describe as archaic state laws that work in favor of the oil and gas industries.

Gabrielle Katz, part of the leadership team, said, ”After the town hall meeting, the leadership team agreed that we will need a multi-faceted approach to preventing new oil and gas drilling near our neighborhoods and in Boulder County. We are developing a vision and structure that supports effective approaches, such as legal, legislative and direct action.”

Some groups already are moving forward, while others need more volunteers and leaders. Katz pointed out that while they need bodies and brains to help move the groups forward, any contribution adds to the potential success of the ultimate goal.

“Whether it’s helping to print up flyers, delivering them door to door or finding a place to hold the next town hall, every action helps the whole,” she said.

The state of New York banned fracking in 2014 after an extensive citizen effort. The ban marked a turning point in the national movement against fracking, demonstrating the possibility that organized citizens can stop a seemingly unstoppable industry.

The 2017 documentary, Unfractured, which will be featured at a free screening on January 20, hosted by another local activist group, Our Revolution Boulder, follows the historic final year in New York’s ultimately successful fight against fracking. Members of the Keep Heatherwood Frack-Free Facebook group are promoting the screening on their page.

The free screening of Unfractured will be held on Sunday, Jan. 20 from 1-3 p.m. at the Boulder County Library Meadows branch at 4800 Baseline Road. Anyone interested in helping to fight fracking in the area can contact Gabrielle Katz at healthyheatherwood@gmail.com.

 

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