Colorado Supreme Court rejects towns’ attempts to ban fracking

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Oil

LONGMONT, Colo. – Residents in two Colorado towns decided to take matters into their own hands when it came to fracking in their city.

In 2012, Longmont voters approved a ban on fracking in the city.

Just one year later, voters in Fort Collins decided to approve a similar ban, placing a five-year moratorium on fracking and storage of fracking waste.

However, energy companies would not go down without a fight.

The case headed all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court, where justices ruled against the cities.

“Apply well-established preemption principles, the supreme court concludes that the City of Longmont’s ban on fracking and the storage and disposal of fracking wastes within its city limits operationally conflicts with applicable state law. Accordingly, the court holds that Longmont’s fracking ban is preempted by state law and, therefore, is invalid and unenforceable. The court further holds that the inalienable rights provision of the Colorado Constitution does not save the fracking ban from preemption by state law. The court thus affirms the district court’s order enjoining Longmont from enforcing the fracking ban and remands this case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion,” the court ruled on Monday.

Environmental advocates say the decision was a “devastating blow” to residents’ rights to “protect our health, safety and property from the impacts of this dangerous industrial activity.”

It’s a fight that is familiar to several Oklahoma towns.

In the Sooner State, it is illegal to ban fracking in Oklahoma towns. However, cities may place restrictions on oil companies.

In 2015, Stillwater approved an ordinance that regulated noise levels of oil well sites, meaning companies would not be allowed to operate louder than 69 decibels, which is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner. The ordinance placed restrictions of sites near schools, homes and hospitals.

Recently, geologists have linked increased earthquake activity to the oil and gas industry, specifically wastewater injection wells.

Following several large earthquakes in northern Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission imposed further restrictions on wells in hopes of decreasing the number of quakes in the area.

 

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