Tag Archive for Senator Mark Udall

Coloradans are talking….

Washington, can you hear us now?

The following letter was delivered to the Washington, D.C. offices of Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. The voices in the groups who signed the letter are strong and determined. It is hoped that our senators, as well as all other elected officials, will recognize that the issues raised in this letter are signature issues of our time and that elected representatives of any and all offices as well as political parties will be held accountable by the people.

As the oil and gas industry moves full speed ahead with the fracking boom, residents across the state are organizing to protect their health, environment, property values, way of life and communities form the impacts of oil and natural gas extraction, including fracking. Two Colorado mothers, Jodee Brekke of Denver and Diana Caile of Boulder, traveled to Washington, D.C. to join a nationwide coalition of citizens, communities and organizations for the Stop the Frack Attack events, beginning with Lobby Day on Wednesday, July 25, and culminating in a mass rally and march, with a crowd of 5000, on Saturday, July 28. Ms. Brekke and Ms. Caile met with staff at Senator Udall’s and Senator Bennet’s offices to deliver a letter imploring the senators to discontinue their rhetoric about the benefits of oil and natural gas extraction and to move for a national moratorium on fracking. The letter was signed by 262 Coloradans, as well as 17 grassroots groups and nonprofits from throughout the state, representing thousands more. Additionally, approximately 1500 people from throughout the country and even globally signed on to the letter in solidarity.

To:  Senators Udall and Bennet

From: The following Grassroots Groups

Earth Guardians
Erie Rising
East Boulder County United
Boulder County Citizens for Community Rights
Commerce City United
Food and Water Watch
GrassRoots Energy activist Network (GREEN)
Commerce City Unite N.O.W.
Adams County Unite N.O.W.
Be the Change
Protect Colorado Water
350 Colorado
Green Valley Ranch Fracking Resistance Group
Denver Community Rights
Lakewood Fracktivists
Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont
What the Frack?! Arapahoe

 

Colorado is under assault from the oil and gas industry. As the industry moves full speed ahead with the fracking boom, residents across the state are organizing to protect their property values, way of life, health, environment, communities, and future generations from the impacts of oil and natural gas extraction.

The heavy industrial, toxic process of oil and natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing:

  • uses millions of gallons of water per frack, turning our water into toxic waste that must be removed from the hydrologic cycle.
  • is creating a potential environmental and human health catastrophe by pumping toxic wastewater into injection wells.
  • contaminates surface/ground water and soil, spews toxins into our air, and despoils our landscape.
  • threatens the economic benefit we receive from tourism and our healthy, outdoor lifestyle branding.
  • is harmful to our health.
  • releases high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • disrupts our communities with heavy semi-truck and tanker-truck traffic (some of which carry radioactive material), noise, lights, and industrial level diesel exhaust.
  • externalizes millions of dollars in damage to our infrastructure.
  • brings with it increased crime and pressure on the housing market from transient worker populations.
  • reduces property values.
  • threatens the real estate market as lenders are increasingly unwilling to extend mortgages or refinance properties near wells, and as residents choose to leave by short selling or having their properties foreclosed on.
  • is a boom and bust activity that leaves communities devastated.

Natural gas has received a lot of attention as a bridge fuel. Natural gas is not a bridge to renewable energy, but just another dirty fossil fuel. In fact, the turn to natural gas is hurting investments in renewables. The only way we’re going to get to a healthy, sustainable energy future is by investing in healthy, sustainable energy. Promoting unconventional natural gas extraction is turning your back on renewable energy, on your constituents who shoulder the externalized costs, and on future generations.

The oil and gas industry is being propped up by taxpayer money in the form of subsidies, tax breaks, exemptions from environmental protection laws and externalized costs shouldered by the people of Colorado and those in communities threatened by this industry across the country. We expect you to fight for the health, safety and welfare of your constituents over corporate profits.

In light of new information coming out almost daily about the above mentioned impacts of oil and natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing, and considering full-cost accounting, as well as the fact that the industry plans to export, we implore you to discontinue your rhetoric about the benefits oil and gas extraction confers and move for a nationwide moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing.

Some want the military to target Americans

US Military firing on US citizens?

US Military firing on US citizens?

When Congress returns from the Thanksgiving recess on Monday, the Senate will be voting on a bill that will direct American military resources not at an enemy shooting at our military in a war zone, but at American citizens and other civilians far from any battlefield – even people in the United States itself.

As currently written, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (S. 1867) gives this president – and every future president – the power to order the military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians anywhere in the world.  The bill was drafted in secret by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ) and passed in a closed-door committee meeting, without even a single hearing.

The White House, the Secretary of Defense, and the Attorney General have all said that the indefinite detention provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act are harmful and counterproductive.  The White House has even threatened a veto. But Senate politics has propelled this bad legislation to the Senate floor.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.”

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is offering the Udall Amendment that will delete the harmful provisions and replace them with a requirement for an orderly Congressional review of detention power.  The Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power.

If enacted, sections 1031 and 1032 of the NDAA would:

  1. Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;
  2. Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and
  3. Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

The United States is rapidly heading down the road to fascism.  It’s bad enough that corporations have almost complete control of our political system.  Now those same interests want to deputize the military against our citizens!

I don’t care which political party has control over the American military; this proposal is disgustingly out of line with who we are and who we have been since our inception.  Our criminal justice system has served us reasonably well over the 222 years of our existence.  It can and will continue to do so.  There is no moral, legal or security justification for turning our military on our own citizenry.

Contact your senators and urge them to vote in support of the Udall Amendment. And if the amendment should fail, urge them to vote against the entire National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (S. 1867). The Senate needs to clearly understand that the American public also can and will “draw a line in the sand.”