Boulder County District Court Rules Against Longmont Fracking Ban
Community Will Continue to Fight. Appeal Imminent.
DENVER, CO, November 2, 2020 – Today, the Boulder County District Court ruled against Longmont’s fracking ban. In 2012, Longmont voters overwhelmingly approved a charter amendment (Article XVI) to ban fracking within city limits. Soon after, the oil & gas industry (COGA) sued to overturn the ban. In May of 2016, the CO Supreme Court ruled to overturn the ban citing state preemption due to operational conflict with state law.
Although Longmont’s ban became unenforceable, it remained on the city’s charter subject to a change in state law. “This decision is about the legislature expressly giving power to local governments the ability to regulate oil and gas operators in a manner that is more protective than state standards. That means local governments have the authority to ban or enact moratoria. We are disappointed in the court’s decision, and we will appeal the decision to the appellate courts,” said Our Longmont member, Michael Bellmont.
In 2019 Governor Polis signed SB 19–181 into law which provides local governments land-use authority, greater control over oil and gas operations, and eliminated state preemption, among other things, making Longmont’s charter enforceable as a reasonable and necessary action to protect public health and safety.
Executive Director of Colorado Rising for Communities, Joe Salazar emphasizes, “This court has clearly misread the intent of the legislature when issuing its decision in this case. It’s almost as though the court is in disbelief that the law significantly changed in 2019. Municipalities were expressly granted authority to regulate in the interest of public health and safety, including regulating the surface impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). We knew this was going to be a fight, and so fight we must!” Colorado Rising for Communities will continue to protect and defend community health and safety from the abusive oil and gas industry. An appeal is imminent.
###Colorado Rising for Communities is a statewide, 501(c)3, grassroots organization working to protect our communities from the dangers to public health and safety of fossil fuel operations to promote the transition off fossil fuels, and to protect our environment for future generations.