Loveland Council Opposes Fracking Moratorium

The City Council finalized the ballot language regarding a proposed moratorium on fracking within the City of Loveland. The actual wording was proposed by the group Protect Our Loveland, which gathered signatures to put the measure on the ballot.

Unfortunately the language is vague and assumes that some entity will study the effects of fracking on property values and human health but does not require such a study during the two years the moratorium will be in effect if the voters approve it. This is one of the many reasons that the City Council also voted 5-4 to adopt a resolution opposing the measure. (Mayor Gutierrez and Councilors Farley, Trenary and Shaffer voted against the resolution.)

Ironically, there are no active oil wells in Loveland and zoning regulations already in effect would limit future development to a few isolated locations. The only area that could realistically be drilled is on the northeastern edge of the city limits.

Question 1 reads as follows, “Shall an ordinance be adopted that places a two-year moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing within the City of Loveland to extract oil, gas or other hydrocarbons and on the storage and disposal of its waste products in order to fully study the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on property values and human health?”

The Board of Directors of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce voted to oppose the moratorium. The Chamber issued a press release saying, “This ballot measure does not take into account the factual historic data and solid safeguards that continue to be in place for responsible energy development, including the city of Loveland’s thorough Oil & Gas Regulations, and would have drastic impacts on Loveland and northern Colorado economies. The ballot risks hundreds of jobs and thousands of dollars in economic activity for Loveland.”

Note: REALTOR organizations have taken different approaches to fracking moratoria. The Fort Collins Board of REALTORS opted not to take position when citizens of that city voted to approve a fracking moratorium last year. The Longmont Association of REALTORS was the first REALTOR organization to oppose a ballot question instituting a moratorium on the grounds that it violated the rights of mineral owners. LAR was also concerned about the precedent such a moratorium would set. Indeed, one of the most vocal proponents of the Longmont moratorium, Kay Fissinger, is now a consultant for Protect Our Loveland and has spoke in favor of the moratorium multiple times at Loveland City Council meetings.

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