Heated oil and gas meeting ends with protesters being escorted out

DENVER -- Protesters had to be removed from a meeting of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ib Monday as they chanted "Stop the drilling no more permits stop the appeal."

The group was referring to a Colorado Appeals Court ruling in the case of Martinez vs. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which the commission is appealing.

The sometimes raucous meeting ended with police escorting several people out of the room where more than 20 had testified.

"My question is ‘Where's the outrage for the two people that were incinerated in Firestone,’" Lafayette resident Andrew O'Connor asked.

“We demand that you do your job," said a woman from Boulder.

The commission oversees fossil fuel development regulations that have allowed more than 50,000 wells being drilled in the state.

"I am angered and disgusted that the state of Colorado and our legislators have allowed ourselves to be sold out for cheap not even to the highest bidder," said Mary Henry of Lafayette, where several well permits are pending.

Fracking opponents are angry over the commission's decision to appeal a court ruling that would require more study before new wells are permitted.

"I'm really furious because you have been neglecting your job," another woman from Boulder said.

"How can we not choose clean air and water for our children," Larry Moore from El Paso County asked.

The Firestone explosion in April that killed two men sparked lawsuits and added outrage to the debate.

"You're all planting ticking time bombs next to and underneath peoples’ homes,” said Lauren Petrie of Food and Water Watch.

"Breathing issues and ruining our water. Now we're also worried about our houses blowing up," said Barbara Gray of Lakewood.

"Nobody got angry, but I'm damn angry,” Cleo Dioletis of Denver said. “You should all be ashamed of yourselves."

Commission members would not comment on the pending legal fights but said they're listening to the public.

“Some of them get a little bit personal with the commission,” Commissioner Tommy Holton said. “I don't care for that it does not further the conversation but we do listen."

"I definitely don't want anyone to feel like like they're not being heard and considered," Commissioner Bill Hawkins said.

The commission only meets eight or nine times a year and its next meeting is scheduled for late August in Durango.