Judge Throws Out Colorado City’s Fracking Ban
Fort Collins voters put a five-year ban on fracking in November, but a judge ruled that it ‘impeded the state’s interest’
By Andrea Germanos, staff writer
Voters in Fort Collins, Colorado last year sent a clear message: no fracking in our city.
But their vote putting a five-year ban on fracking was upturned on Thursday when a Colorado judge overturned the ban, ruling that it “impedes a state interest and prohibits what the state law allows.”
The Coloradoan reports that “the court declared that the five-year halt to new development violated the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act, initially passed in 1951, which declares that oil and gas activity in Colorado is above all a state priority.”
“The City’s five-year ban effectively eliminates the possibility of oil and gas development within the City,” local news KDVR reports District Judge Gregory Lammons as writing. “This is so because hydraulic fracturing is used in ‘virtually all oil and gas wells’ in Colorado.
“To eliminate a technology that is used in virtually all oil and gas wells would substantially impede the state’s interest in oil and gas production,” Lammons continued.
The ruling follows a series of blows for the anti-fracking movement in the state. Two weeks ago, a judge invalidated the city of Longmont’s fracking ban, and earlier this week, state politicians pulled anti-fracking initiatives from the state’s November ballot and announced the creation of a task force to craft drilling regulations. That move sparked a petition charging that there was not only “an environmental crisis, but also a democracy crisis” in the state, which leaves “‘we the people’… naked and unarmed to protect ourselves from what, by default, are non-sensible regulations which violate rights to safety.”