Friday, February 28, 2014

Broomfield Fracking Ban Upheld in Court

Header from Our Broomfield website.
An active environmental movement, Our Broomfield, pushed for a five year ban to provide experts with the opportunity to study the effects of fracking. In November, Broomfield passed the fracking ban by a margin of 20 votes.

The issue was recently brought to court due to some confusion regarding new voter residency requirements. The legal challenge was brought by pro-fracking group, Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition, and It's Our Broomfield, Too.

Judge Chris Melonakis said the five year ban on fracking stands, even though the handling of some ballots were "sloppy." In his decision, he described that Broomfield acted in good faith when conducting the election, and that the results should not be tossed out.

Officials from Broomfield released a statement that they will be revisiting their election processes and updating them as needed. Broomfield City and County Manager Charles Ozaki said that Broomfield will now move forward with hiring a "qualified, independent consultant to perform a comprehensive third-party assessment of its election procedures."

The Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition has stated that it intends to pursue other means of preserving constitutional rights in Broomfield.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Professor Rock Pring Interviewed Regarding Environmental Courts in Hawaii

Professor Rock Pring
Hawaii is considering the benefits of establishing an environmental court. Advocates of the environmental court system feel that environmental crimes, such as pumping pool water into the ocean or dumping trash on the roadside, etc. would be better prosecuted in an environmental court.

"Nearly 500 jurisdictions around the world, including dozens of U.S. cities, maintain environmental courts and tribunals," said George Pring, a professor emeritus at Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver and the co-author with his wife, Kitty Pring, of "Greening Justice," a study of environmental courts.

Hawaii Senate Bill 632, which recently survived committee and will head to the senate floor, would create an environmental court within the state's circuit courts. If the bill passes, it would make Hawaii the second state to create a court specifically for dealing with environmental matters (the other state being Vermont).

Professor Pring stated, "We have a real proliferation of environmental courts around the world, and it's not just the rich countries doing it, by any measure. We watched them in Bangladesh, for heaven's sakes. Such courts work better in some jurisdictions than in others. When they do work, the special courts save money and get complex cases through the system faster."

For more information about the benefits and call for an environmental court in Hawaii, visit the following Associated Press article: Hawaii Considers Establishing an Environmental Court