Oil & Gas Association hints at legal action in fracking ban

FORT COLLINS — The president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association raised the possibility of legal action Wednesday in response to a hydraulic fracturing ban that won initial approval from Fort Collins City Council.

“We ardently hope that this ordinance will be defeated on second reading so there will not have to be discussions of going to court to allow an activity that the state Supreme Court has clearly stated cannot be banned within a city, county or municipality,´ said Tisha Schuller, president of the oil and gas association.

The City Council, responding to residents’ concerns about fracking, passed the ban on a 5-2 vote Tuesday night. Councilors Aislinn Kottwitz and Wade Troxell cast the dissenting votes.

The ban would not apply to existing oil wells in the Fort Collins field operated by Prospect Energy. The ordinance, however, calls for the company to reach an agreement with the city to regulate operations.

The fracking ban won praise from environmentalists.

“Fort Collins took an important step forward to protect its citizens and their health and property,´ said Gary Wockner of environmental group Clean Water Action. “Fracking is a dangerous industrial process that emits cancer-causing chemicals that should not be allowed in residential areas.”

Schuller said fracking has been done safely in Colorado for more than 60 years.

The industry association is suing the city of Longmont, where voters banned fracking in November.

Councilors are scheduled to cast a final vote March 5 on whether to approve the ban.


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