Colorado’s highest court ruled voter-approved fracking bans in Longmont and Fort Collins are “invalid and unenforceable,” affirming lower courts’ past decisions. This case is important for the gas and oil industry obviously but it is also a victory for property rights.
Fracking opponents were dismayed. Kaye Fissinger, president Longmont’s Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont, said the court’s decision was “beyond comprehension.” U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder called it “a blow to democracy and local control.” Boulder County, which initiated a fracking moratorium of its own issued a release stating, “Today’s Colorado Supreme Court decisions were specific to the two communities named in the lawsuits. As such, the immediate impacts of these rulings on Boulder County’s regulations, including its temporary moratorium on new oil and gas operations, will need further analysis.
However, as numerous observers have stated, the ruling will not result in gas and oil wells everywhere. Local governments can control where these operations are located – they just can’t prohibit them outright. The ruling preserves the right of the mineral owners to utilize their property.