In a decision handed down earlier this week, a Colorado District Court ruled that the town of Longmont had no legal authority to enact a voter-approved ban on fracking within its boundaries. “The Court finds Article XVI of the Longmont Municipal Charter, which bans hydraulic fracturing and the storage and disposal of hydraulic fracturing waste in the City of Longmont, is invalid as preempted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act,” said District Judge D.D. Mallard in her ruling.
The ruling is still open to appeal and Mallard has stayed her opinion, meaning that fracking operations are still prohibited in Longmont while the city considers whether it will challenge the decision in a higher court. As reported in the Huffington Post, “Mallard’s ruling comes amid two pending drilling-related statewide ballot measures — one that would require oil and gas drilling to be 2,000 feet away from homes and businesses, and another that would create an environmental bill of rights.”
Initiative 89, the measure that would create an “environmental bill of rights,” would give local measures like Longmont’s more legal weight in challenges to state law.