BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– Boulder County Commissioners said they restricted fracking operations as much as they could but protesters wanted more.
The fracking operation restrictions were approved at Thursday’s meeting which was attended by protesters who appeared with tape placed over their mouths.
The tape was a visual sign of their opposition to what happened last week where anti-fracking protesters disrupted the meeting and criticized other witnesses.
Commissioners cited “a bullying atmosphere” and attempts to intimidate other witnesses at the Dec. 4 meeting. They promised to prosecute any demonstrators who disrupt future meetings.
Commissioners said at Thursday’s meeting they did everything within the rights of local government to restrict oil and gas operations. That includes placing wells at the maximum distance from structures as well as strict air and water quality requirements which the commissioners say is much stricter than current state law.
Still, protesters said they wanted more restrictions placed on fracking operations.
“I don’t think I have any options. I can’t afford to move. If I could, I would move. This is, it will devastate me,” said Longmont resident Mike Taylor. “The health issues are monstrous.”
Oil and gas drillers did not want the new restrictions placed on their fracking operations.
Commissioners said under state law, they don’t have the power to ban fracking and the tougher restrictions were all they could impose.
Opponents want the county to ban fracking, saying the procedure blasting water, sand and chemicals underground to free oil and natural gas is unsafe.
Supporters say the procedure is safe and the state has sufficient regulations in place to protect the public.
The following are CBS4’s images of activists at Thursday’s meeting.