Fort Collins, Colo., passes fracking ban; state and gas industry threaten to sue
The city council of Fort Collins, Colo., voted Tuesday to ban fracking within city limits. The move has strong support from residents, but it makes the city the target of lawsuits from the state government and the oil and gas industry.
The new regulations [PDF] will block gas and oil exploration and ban the storage of hazardous fracking chemicals within the city, which is 65 miles north of Denver and home to 150,000 people.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) said last week that the fracking ban would constitute an illegal “taking” of mineral rights. He said he doesn’t want to sue Fort Collins, but that his principled approach to his job obliges him to do so. “Bans like the one under consideration in Fort Collins violate state law,” his spokesman said. “The governor takes no joy in suing local government. He respects local planning and control.”
The council voted to keep frackers away from the city anyway. From the Fort Collins Coloradoan:
Mayor pro tem Kelly Ohlson said state regulators have no credibility with him, nor does Gov. John Hickenlooper, who said last week the state would sue the city if it passed a ban.
“I believe the governor should spend his time protecting the health and safety and welfare of citizens of Colorado rather than acting like the chief lobbyist for the oil and gas industry,” he said. “In fact, I think he should literally quit drinking the fracking Kool-Aid.”
That was a reference to Hickenlooper drinking a cup of fracking fluid given to him by none other than Halliburton.
Also planning to sue Fort Collins: the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. This same organization submitted a petition to the city council two weeks ago with signatures showing 55 local businesses opposed the ban. But many of the signatures were apparently faked, and the association attempted to retract the petition after the deception was revealed by the Coloradoan.