Putting his administration squarely in the sights of environmental foes of fracking, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper vowed to sue Fort Collins as a proposed ban of oil and gas development went through last week.
The Fort Collins City Council voted 5-2 last week on a ban on oil and gas development within the city during their March 5 session.
Earlier, the city gave 5-2 initial approval to ban most oil and natural gas exploration, including the use of hydraulic fracturing, within the city limits. The move follows a similar 2012 effort by Longmont, which resulted in a suit by the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Hickenlooper said that banning oil and gas exploration and production within Fort Collins’ city limits is a “taking” of the mineral rights of Fort Collins’ citizens. Citing the division between land ownership and mineral rights, Hickenlooper noted that you can’t act on those rights without the use of fracking, thereby invalidating the claim.
The move prompted a response from Environment Colorado Field Organizer Anneli Berube, who said in a statement, “From air pollution to industrial landscapes to toxic spills like the one in Windsor, communities in Colorado have plenty of reasons to say no to dirty drilling. We believe they should retain the right to do so.”
“By threatening this legal action, Gov. Hickenlooper is imposing the will of the oil and gas industry on every city and town in Colorado,” said Berube.
Contact Staff Writer Gene Sears at firstname.lastname@example.org.