From Bloomberg News today:
By Andrew Harris
Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- The Colorado Oil & Gas Association sued the cities of Fort Collins and Lafayette claiming their voter-enacted bans on the extraction of oil and gas are preempted by state laws regulating those resources.
The association seeks court orders permanently blocking the bans, according to copies of the complaints it provided. The filings couldn’t be immediately confirmed in Larimer and Boulder county court records.
Fort Collins voters on Nov. 5 chose to forbid all hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas for five years, according to the industry group’s complaint against the city, while Lafayette voters amended their city charter to bar oil and gas extraction.
"With 95 percent of all wells in Colorado hydraulically fractured, any ban on fracking is a ban on oil and gas development," association President Tisha Schuller said in a statement announcing the filing.
The bans violate the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Act, which requires uniform regulation, according to the complaints. Colorado’s Supreme Court has held state law preempts local regulations when an issue is comprised of mixed state and local concerns, Schuller said in the statement.
Debbie Wilmot, a spokeswoman for Lafayette, said in an e- mail the city hadn’t yet received any notification of the lawsuit.
Fort Collins City Manager Darin Atteberry didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on the industry group’s allegations.
The Denver-based association was founded in 1984 to promote efficient and environmentally sound development and production of natural gas and oil in the state, according to its website.
In hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, water, sand and chemicals are shot underground to break apart rocks and free up trapped natural gas or oil. Use of the technique has led to a boom in production in states such as Pennsylvania, Texas, North Dakota and Colorado.
The cases are Colorado Oil & Gas Association v. City of Fort Collins, 2013CV031385, Larimer County, Colorado, District Court (Fort Collins); and Colorado Oil & Gas Association v. City of Lafayette, Colorado, 2013CV031746, Boulder County, Colorado, District Court (Boulder).
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.