Editor’s Note: The following address was given before the Longmont City Council on December 18, 2012, following the lawsuit filed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association over Article XVI of the Longmont City Council.
Given our recent history some of us here may seem unlikely allies……but we are wise enough to look forward, not backward. We now have a compelling common cause…to protect this community and its citizens from an oppressive lawsuit that would elevate the profits of a single, privileged industry over the health of our own people by granting that industry a godlike, dare I say, unconstitutional right to impose its inherently dangerous operations next to our homes, our schools, and our places of recreation.
There are those that would fatalistically parrot history and blandly proclaim that we are prisoners of this case law, or that judicial outcome.
Just so, many advised Abraham Lincoln that, based on history, it was impossible and untimely to free the slaves,…..there were many who discouraged General Eisenhower from the Normandy Invasion given the immense risk of challenging the massive blockade by the powerful German army; and there were, no doubt, multitudes around the world that laughed at the thought of 13 small audacious American Colonies challenging the Imperial English war machine…… Retrospectively knowing all those outcomes today we can easily lose sight of the risk involved in undertaking each of those historic missions. We, like Lincoln, Eisenhower, and the fledgling America have chosen the higher road. Not irresponsibly or unthinkingly choosing a path of great risk of a possible lawsuit that is now a reality…..but because we recognize the true risk…..a long-term threat to the health of the very families and children in this community.
We now face a lawsuit from COGA, a proxy for arguably the most powerful industry in the world. But we are not motivated by fear,…rather we stand together as a threatened people with courage, determination, and resolve to uphold our inalienable right guaranteed by the constitution to health, safety, and wellness.
I end with a quote from the Supreme court in 1932 as follows……”Neither Property Rights, nor contract rights are absolute. For government cannot exist if the citizen at will can use his property to the detriment of his fellos.” So, you see…we DO have a case….. Now let’s go make history together!