Fort Collins’ Council eyes vote on fracking moratorium

FORT COLLINS – The Fort Collins City Council is scheduled to decide Tuesday whether to vote on an ordinance that would authorize a special election on whether to temporarily ban hydraulic fracturing in the city.

The City Clerk’s Office is asking the City Council to give the ordinance preliminary approval for a special election Nov. 5. The ordinance would authorize the clerk’s office to prepare for a special election based on a petition that Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins plans to submit to the city.

The petition asks registered voters to propose an ordinance passing a five-year moratorium on fracking, which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals deep below the surface to extract oil and natural gas trapped in shale. The five years should be used to study the effects of fracking on property values, human health and public safety, according to the proposed ballot question.

The drilling ban could be lifted by a ballot measure approved by voters, according to the petition.

The deadline for the group to submit the petition is Aug. 5. The group needs 3,907 signatures for the proposed fracking ban to be the subject of a special election, City Clerk Wanda Nelson said.

City Council also will consider deciding whether to give preliminary approval to either an extension of its moratorium until Dec. 31 or a five- to seven-year extension. Passed in December last year, the city’s current drilling suspension will expire at the end of the month.

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