A coalition of activist groups has submitted language to the Colorado Legislative Council for a constitutional amendment to give local governments authority to regulate oil and natural gas development. Under the measure, any county, city or town, whether statutory or home rule, could ban oil and gas development, including the drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing.
The coalition, called Local Control Colorado, submitted the ballot initiative to the Legislative Council on Feb. 21. The coalition must collect 86,000 signatures by Aug. 4 for the initiative to appear on the November ballot.
The proposed initiative follows restrictions on fracking passed by voters in Fort Collins, Lafayette, Boulder, Broomfield and Longmont. In response, the Colorado Oil & Gas Association has sued the cities of Fort Collins, Lafayette and Longmont. The oil and gas industry and the state of Colorado have sought to maintain the state’s regulatory authority, which provides more certainty to the industry. ”One of the big things for, not just for our industry but any industry, is regulatory certainty,” Encana Corp. spokesman Doug Hock said. “Having different rules in different jurisdictions and the ability to create outright bans would not create certainty for our industry, or for others requirements.”
Along with oil and gas drilling bans, the initiative also would give local governments the authority to pass regulations stricter than state law, regardless of the industry. Local Control Colorado consists of the following groups throughout Colorado: Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins, Our Broomfield, Frack Free Colorado, Protect Our Loveland, Our Longmont, Boulder County Citizens for Community Rights, 350 Colorado, Food & Water Watch, Citizens for a Healthy Community, and Pikes Peak Alliance for the Future.
Note: In response to this initiative, an opposing group has been formed known as Vital for Colorado http://www.vitalforcolorado.com. CARPAC, Colorado Association of REALTORS Political Action Committee will have a presentation from VITAL next week.