May 3, 2016
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Monday that state law trumps two cities’ attempts to stem the domestic fracking boom, issuing “a severe slap in the face” to Coloradans and local democracy alike.
The court heard cases from Longmont, where voters banned the oil and gas drilling practice in 2012, and Fort Collins, where voters approved a 5-year moratorium in 2013. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association, an industry trade group that brought the suits against both cities, argued that the fossil fuel-friendly state clearly regulates fracking, and the cities can’t forbid a practice that the state allows.
According to the Denver Post:
“The court ruled that Fort Collins’ five-year moratorium within the city limits is “a matter of mixed state and local concern and, therefore, is subject to preemption by state law. Applying well-established preemption principles, the court further concludes that Fort Collins’s moratorium operationally conflicts with the effectuation of state law.”
“It said the same in Longmont’s 2012 ban on fracking.”
“The Oil and Gas Conservation Act and the Commission’s pervasive rules and regulations … convince us that the state’s interest in the efficient and responsible development of oil and gas resources includes a strong interest in the uniform regulation of fracking,” the court wrote in the Longmont ruling.
In other words, said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune, “The Colorado Supreme Court has now ruled that corporate polluters’ profits outweigh the will of Coloradans who have said ‘no’ to fracking and ‘yes’ to a safe environment for their communities.”