A Boulder district court judge struck down a 2013 voter-approved fracking ban in Lafayette. The move follows similar court rulings against Longmont and Fort Collins, where voters passed bans or moratoriums restricting hydraulic fracturing.
The lawsuit was initiated by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, which argued that a ban on fracking was effectively a ban on oil and gas development.
At a hastily organized news conference, Gov. John Hickenlooper called on all groups promoting oil and gas ballot issues to drop their proposals. To solve Colorado’s growing conflicts between development and land use, Hickenlooper proposed an 18-person blue ribbon commission composed of residents, local officials, oil and gas industry representatives as well as “respected Coloradans.”
When the city of Longmont's fracking ban was struck down by a Boulder judge, it could have been seen as a setback for those seeking to assert local control over surging oil and gas development along Colorado's populous Front Range.
A longer view of the matter, though, shows that local communities all across the state have exerted control over oil and gas within their boundaries for decades.
It's a refrain many in the state have grown to loathe this summer — heard outside their favorite grocery store or shopping mall as signature gatherers race toward an Aug. 4 deadline to put four energy-related measures on the November ballot.
With two of those measures backed by environmentalists, and the other two by industry-supported groups, all of the energy talk is leading to confusion among potential voters.