11:04am

Sat July 27, 2013
Environment

Lafayette Latest Community To Have Vote On Fracking Ban

Credit KUNC File Photo

Voters in Lafayette will be asked if hydraulic fracturing should be banned in their community this November.

Officials say petitioners have turned in enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot. The city clerk verified over 1,000 signatures in support of the proposal. Supporters needed to submit 948.

The Daily Camera reports,

“East Boulder County United rallied a team of volunteers to collect signatures in support of its measure, dubbed the Lafayette Community Rights Act. The act would prohibit any new oil and gas extraction in Lafayette, including any hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and would disallow the disposal of associated waste products inside the city.”

Meanwhile the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state’s regulating body say municipalities can enforce local land use codes related to drilling, but can’t ban energy extraction.

Where Fracking Stands in Northern Colorado

Signs in support of banning fracking within Fort Collins city limits, which was passed by the city council in March 2013.
Credit Grace Hood / KUNC

  • Lafayette – fracking ban on November ballot
  • Loveland – signatures verified that support a two-year moratorium on fracking
  • Broomfield – signature gathering efforts launched for five year fracking ban
  • Fort Collins – signature gathering efforts launched for five year fracking ban, though a moratorium on new drilling is currently in place
  • Boulder – city council is considering putting a five year fracking moratorium on November ballot
  • Longmont – new drilling is banned, though the case has been brought to court

The 14 active gas wells in Lafayette wouldn't be affected by the proposed ban.

Although Greeley looks like an oil and gas friendly community, it has a complicated history with fracking, as the New York Times reports:

“In the mid-1980s, the city banned drilling inside its borders, a move that was overturned by Colorado’s highest court after a long and expensive legal battle with energy companies. Since then, the city has passed rules to manage drilling and has learned to coexist with the industry, and even embrace it.

Last year, Greeley collected $3.3 million from oil and gas operations, and it estimates that energy production will generate $429 million in tax revenue over the next 25 years. The University of Northern Colorado and school districts inside Greeley have leased out their drilling rights, and this spring huge “thumper trucks” rolled through the streets, sending seismic jolts deep into the ground to see where mineral deposits might lie.”

Many remain concerned about the health impacts of drilling close to where people live and it’s affect on ground water, though a federal study that came out last week concluded that there is no evidence that chemicals from fracking in Pennsylvania contaminated drinking water aquifers there.