Colorado Supreme Court Says, No Fracking Bans Allowed

During the fracking industry’s short history, it has increased methane emissions, earthquakes, and pollution of air, water and soil, spurring many towns and cities to ban the practice altogether.

But Colorado’s Supreme Court just ruled that local fracking bans aren’t allowed. It overturned Longmont’s fracking ban and Fort Collins‘ five year moratorium. The argument: state law on oil and gas development pre-empts local ones, so the state and oil industry won.

Broomfield, the city of Boulder and Boulder County also have moratoriums on fracking.

That’s why fracking will be on Colorado’s ballot in November.

At least five proposals are planned, including letting voters decide whether to amend Colorado’s Constitution so that local goverments can restrict or ban the industry. Another ballot proposal would expand buffer zones from the current 500 feet, to 2500 feet, which would eliminate drilling across much of the state.

Meanwhile, fracking takes place ever-closer to homes and schools. One recent proposal would place several mega-facilities within 100 feet from homes and a middle school.

As of 2014, Colorado had 52,000 active wells, 74,000 abandoned wells, just 13 inspectors and 500 spills a year. Before oil prices crashed, there were plans for 3000 new wells a year.

shale-plays

Texas also barred fracking bans after the city of Denton instituted theirs, and Oklahoma quickly followed suit.

136 communities in the US have banned fracking, plus New York State and VermontMaryland has a 2-year moratorium.

Cities with bans include Los Angeles and Mendocino and San Benito counties in California and in Ohio, Cincinnati and Athens.

Mendocino and Athens adopted a Community Bill of Rights – joining more than 150 other communities – which establishes their right to clean air, water, a healthy environment and the rights of nature. It prohibits activities which would interfere with those rights, including oil drilling and hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.

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