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Fracking: El Paso County the Latest to Recieve Attorney General Warning


Consider this your daily dose of fracking, just without the fluids. Pardon the poor taste in puns, but the process, short for "hydraulic fracturing", seems to be in the news just about once an hour these days and today is no exception.

El Paso County, which surrounds Colorado Springs, is among several local governments in Colorado mulling whether to crack down on the process. The county was also the latest local government to receive a letter warning them against such a move from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers.

The Gazette has a story on the issue today. Read a copy of the letter [PDF].

Last week we reported on similar letters that were sent to Arapahoe and Douglas counties in a story about how local drilling bans are highlighting a gray area in state law.

A bi-partisan group of state legislative leaders has sided with the Republican Attorney General so far, and deflected calls for the legislature to weigh in. Sen. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass Village) told the Colorado Independent that state regulators should address the issues of set backs and other concerns administratively, without the legislature or local governments coming in on their own.

But the liberal-leaning Independent also reported that Rep. Matt Jones (D-Louisville) and Sen. Bob Bacon (D-Fort Collins) were considering drafting legislation to give local governments more say in oil and gas regulations.

Depending on who you ask, that would gel with a long history and tradition of "local control" in western states like Colorado, or it would create a "patchwork" of conflicting and confusing regulations that will make it harder for companies to do business here.

That last sentence is argued often by the oil and gas industry, which by the way, is also reeling today from another fracking-related announcement expected regarding the proposed Keystone Pipeline.

But that separate issue may be too much to swallow in this, a single dose.

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