3:42pm

Thu December 1, 2011
Environment

Colorado Springs Enacts Drilling Moratorium

The Colorado Springs city council has unanimously passed an emergency ordinance banning oil and gas drilling while officials review whether existing laws need to be tightened to protect groundwater and other resources.

New technologies are allowing companies to extract oil from the lucrative Niobrara shale formation, which in turn means the industry is starting to look to drill in places that have not traditionally seen it – enter Colorado Springs. 

City council members there say they want to spend the next six months studying whether local regulations need to be tightened to protect groundwater. 

Gary Wockner of the environmental group Clean Water Action applauds the move. He says no longer is oil and gas drilling a rural phenomenon.

"When pollution is occurring in people’s backyards in suburban Front Range Colorado, suddenly it’s almost like everybody’s becoming an environmentalist," Wockner says.

Colorado Springs is the first city to enact a temporary drilling ban in recent times.  But several counties up and down the Front Range are mulling whether to beef up their local zoning regulations.