Colorado High Court Hears Cases on City Oil and Gas Fracturing Bans
Colorado Supreme Court justices plunged into oral arguments as Front Range cities push to limit oil and gas development near people—a step toward resolving a long-running tussle over local vs. state power to regulate industry.
The question is how far cities, towns, and counties can go to shield residents under current law, which establishes an overriding Colorado interest in production of oil and gas.
Fort Collins voters in 2013 passed a 5-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing inside city boundaries, defying Gov. John Hickenlooper and state authorities, who contend locals lack the power to regulate oil and gas.
Longmont leaders in 2012 imposed rules for oil and gas activity. Colorado’s attorney general at the time, John Suthers, sued the city. Longmont voters responded by banning hydraulic fracturing.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) and state have been fighting the ban and moratorium. COGA and state attorneys argue both are illegal because case law and regulations give only the state the right to regulate hydraulic fracturing.