Three decades ago, a gas well exploded near Greeley, Colorado. That event spurred voters to ban oil and gas drilling in the city limits. The ban was overturned by the state Supreme Court in 1992, setting a precedent that local governments in Colorado could not ban energy development.
You'd be forgiven for thinking that case put the kibosh on local drilling prohibitions. Au contraire, Dear Reader: Bans, moratoriums and other controls have sprung up across the state almost as fast as drill rigs during the boom of the late 2000s. Many of these cases are testing the boundaries of the Greeley decision, and two such cases have been making their way through the court system.
On Dec. 9, 2015, the state Supreme Court will hear arguments from two cities: Longmont and Fort Collins. Here's why these cases are different enough from the Greeley case to warrant another hearing in front of the state's highest court.