On December 3, 2013, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (“COGA”) filed suits challenging citizen-passed initiatives that ban oil and gas activities in the cities of Fort Collins and Lafayette. The ordinance passed by the citizens of Fort Collins placed a ban on hydraulic fracturing and the storage of any associated waste in the City of Fort Collins for a period of five years. The charter amendment approved by the citizens of Lafayette bans all oil and gas development within the City of Lafayette.
The lawsuits filed by COGA seek a determination that the bans are preempted by state law because the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Act gives the State of Colorado the authority to regulate oil and gas development, not municipalities. COGA’s press release can be found here.
A lawsuit has not yet been filed to challenge the citizen-passed ban on hydraulic fracturing in Boulder. According to COGA, this is because there are no active wells in Boulder. As for the City of Broomfield’s ban, no action has been taken to challenge that ban as the recount is still ongoing.
The preemption issue is currently pending in a similar suit arising out of a voter-approved ban of hydraulic fracturing passed by the City of Longmont in 2012. That case is set to be tried in August, 2013.
Media coverage can be found here and here.
The North American Shale blog will continue to follow developments in Colorado and report them here.