10:43am

Wed March 6, 2013
Environment

COGA Says Legal Action Against Fort Collins Fracking Ban ‘Likely’

One day after the city of Fort Collins moved to ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing inside city limits, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association says it’s evaluating a potential lawsuit.

Grace Hood reports for All Things Considered

“We’ll make a decision over the next few weeks,” said Tisha Schuller, President and CEO of COGA. “I think it is likely that we’ll be pursuing legal action against Fort Collins.”

COGA sued the city of Longmont after voters approved a ban on fracking inside city limits. The state of Colorado also filed suit against Longmont.

In the weeks leading up to the Fort Collins city council vote, Gov. John Hickenlooper had said the state would sue any city that bans oil and gas development. On Tuesday his office released this statement:

The governor takes no joy in suing local government. As a former mayor he respects local planning and control. He also has an obligation to uphold the law. The governor wants to be honest with local communities about the state’s legal obligations. Bans like the one passed in Fort Collins violate state law.

Last night Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat, who voted “yes” in the 5-2 vote, said the ban ordinance was less than ideal. But she said it would make a statement about Colorado municipalities needing more tools for regulating oil and gas development.

“I don’t think this is the best direction to go based on many of the legal ramifications that go with it. But I think it’s the appropriate route to go in order to get to the ends of local regulation.”

But before any lawsuits can be filed, the fracking ban has to become law. That’s expected to happen in about 10 days.