Longmont’s Fracking Ban Could Be Back If Environmental Groups Have Their Way

Grace Hood
A drilling rig operates north of Longmont near I-25.

Local and environmental groups have asked the courts to reconsider an unsuccessful 2012 fracking ban.

“We feel that this is a necessary and reasonable response to the health impacts they’re already experiencing to oil development nearby,” said Anne Lee Foster, a spokesperson for Colorado Rising. The group, along with Our Longmont, filed suit in Boulder County District Court Wednesday.

Longmont’s voter-approved fracking ban was struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court in 2016. The court argued that state law overrules local law. At the time, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act meant that companies had a right to develop their minerals. That overruled the local Longmont seeking an outright ban. But Colorado Rising and Our Longmont argue that recently passed oil and gas reforms amend the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act and elevate the importance of health and safety, opening the door for the fracking ban.

“The Longmont Municipal Charter is no longer in operational conflict with state statute,” the motion argued. "This Honorable Court must re-open this matter so that Our Longmont may move this Honorable Court to lift the injunction."

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association, which was a plaintiff in the 2014 lawsuit, called the motion “political theater.”

“There is a rational path forward that allows for protecting Colorado’s environment, protecting Colorado communities, and protecting the hard working men and women who make it possible and produce the energy that every single one of us relies on each day. We choose to walk that path,” said COGA President and CEO Dan Haley.

According to a statement, the Longmont Cinty Council has not yet reviewed the lawsuit, so city officials have not taken an official position on the filing. The statement said the council will be reviewing it with its legal team.