By John Fryar Longmont Times-Call
BOULDER — Anti-fracking activists delayed the start of the Boulder County commissioners’ Tuesday afternoon meeting on oil and gas regulations for nearly half an hour, chanting their opposition to that drilling technique and demanding the commissioners resign if they won’t ban hydraulic fracturing in unincorporated Boulder County.
Among those reading loudly from prepared scripts was a pair of school children, one of whom said, “We are standing up for our future … Protect us from the dangers of fracking.”
“We deserve a fighting chance,” said Zapporah Abraham Paiss, a 13-year-old Centennial Middle School student. “With vibrant water, soil and plants,” said Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 12-year-old Centennial School student. They said afterward that they’re members of Earth Guardians.
Commissoners Will Toor, Cindy Domenico and Deb Gardner left their seats and the packed hearing room when the demonstration began and returned only after it had ended.
As the commissioners departed from the hearing room, one person in the audience shouted: “You can run but cannot hide!”
When the meeting resumed, Domenico, chairwoman of the county board, asked the standing-room-only crowd to “behave in a manner that is respectful” so the commissioners would have a chance to hear everyone wanting to make comments at the formal public hearing.
Earlier, members of the audience repeating the materials being read by several people who stood to lead the demonstration, told the commissioners — who’d already left — that “we will not give into you” or the oil and gas industry or Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Hearing-goers who joined in the chants said they “command” the commissioners to ban hydraulic fracturing — and that if the commissioners do not — “we demand your immediate resignations.”
“You have been served notice,” the chanting audience said at one point, with the commissioners still waiting outside the hearing room for the demonstration to
end. “We will not go away.”Tuesday’s meeting was to have started at 4 p.m. The Boulder County staff finally got its presentation of the latest draft of proposed county oil and gas regulations under way at about 4:35 p.m. The actual public hearing began at about 5:30 and lasted nearly 2 1/2 hours as more than 30 people spoke.
By the time the overall discussion of the draft regulations had ended at about 9 p.m., the commissioners had decided to put off acting on the proposed rules until at least Dec. 13, raising several questions they indicated they wanted answered in the meantime.