Colorado Supreme Court strikes down local fracking bans

The Colorado Supreme Court on May 2 overturned two local government ordinances against hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to extract oil or natural gas.

In two different cases, the state’s high court ruled in favor of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. The court ruled against local governments in Longmont and Fort Collins.

The Colorado Supreme Court concluded that the Fort Collins’ five-year moratorium on fracking and the storage of fracking waste within the city is a matter of mixed state and local concern “and, therefore, is subject to preemption by state law.” The court also held that Fort Collins moratorium “operationally conflicts with the effectiveness of state law.”

The Supreme Court ruling upheld an earlier decision in Larimer County District Court. The case was No. 15SC668, City of Fort Collins versus Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

The court ruled against the City of Longmont’s ban on fracking and the storage and disposal of fracking wastes within its city limits. The Colorado Supreme Court said the ban operationally conflicts with state law. “Accordingly, the court holds that Longmont’s fracking ban is preempted by state law and, therefore, is invalid and unenforceable.”

In the Longmont case, the high court affirmed an earlier ruling by the Boulder County District Court.

The latter case is No. 15SCC667; City of Longmont v. Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.