A fracking ban in the city of Longmont, Colorado, has been thrown out by a judge amid petitions to hold a statewide vote later this year on restricting oil and gas drilling that generates US$ 30 billion a year.
Judge Dolores Mallard granted a request by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association to overturn a voter-approved ban on the use of fracking. The debate over hydraulic fracturing has escalated in Colorado as drilling moves closer to suburbs, raising a number of concerns relating to water and air contamination.
According to Bloomberg, five communities in Colorado have voted to ban or put a moratorium on fracking activity.
Longmont’s fracking ban, which was passed by voters in 2012, has been overruled by a state oil and gas law and by the state’s interests, Mallard explained. “While the Court appreciates the Longmont citizens’ sincerely-held beliefs about risks to their health and safety, the Court does not find this is sufficient to completely devalue the State’s interest,” she concluded.
After adding that “the Court finds this matter of mixed local and state interest”, Mallard stayed her ruling to give environmental groups a chance to appeal it.
Kaye Fissinger, President of ‘Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont’, said the ruling is the first to overturn a local fracking ban in Colorado, Bloomberg reports.
Mallard’s ruling comes amid two pending statewide ballot measures related to drilling. The first would require oil and gas drilling to be carried out 2000 ft away from homes and businesses; the second would create an environmental bill of rights to provide communities with more control over where drilling takes place.
Anadarko Petroleum, Whiting Petroleum and Encana, which are drilling in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, said they would spend US$ 50 million to fight these anti-fracking measures.
Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward
Read the article online at: https://www.oilfieldtechnology.com/drilling-and-production/25072014/fracking-ban-in-colorado-overturned-by-judge-1130/