Quantcast

Colorado Supreme Court to Make Historic Ruling on Fracking Bans

Energy

Tensions are rising to a crescendo across Colorado as the Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to hear the extremely controversial issue of whether fracking bans and long-term moratoriums are allowed in the state.

Back in 2012 and 2013, five Colorado cities—Boulder, Broomfield, Lafayette, Longmont and Fort Collins—all enacted long-term moratoriums or bans. Boulder County also enacted a long-term moratorium. So far:

  • The City of Boulder’s long-term moratorium was not challenged and remains intact.

  • Boulder County’s long-term moratorium was not challenged and remains intact.

  • Broomfield’s long-term moratorium was challenged by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and lost in court and then the Broomfield City Council was granted a “suspension” of their appeal of the case pending the outcome of the Colorado Supreme Court case.

  • Lafayette’s ban was challenged by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and lost in court and then the Lafayette City Council did not to appeal the decision.

  • Longmont’s moratorium was challenged by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and lost in court and then the City Council appealed the decision.

  • Fort Collins’ long-term moratorium was challenged by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and lost in court and then the City Council appealed the decision.

The Supreme Court has combined the two cases from Longmont and Fort Collins and is expected to start hearing briefs by the end of 2015.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper continues to be a very controversial and outspoken supporter of fracking across the state—he opposed the bans and moratoriums and then he forced the State of Colorado to sue Longmont when their ban took effect (he later dropped the lawsuit). Just this week, Hickenlooper stated in a public radio interview that he expected the Supreme Court—which he appoints—to rule to support the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. He said the Court should see the bans and moratoriums as a type of “private property rights taking,” similar to “eminent domain” that requires “compensation” paid by the cities to the owners of the oil and gas mineral rights.

I see it differently. If the issue of “takings” is considered by the Colorado Supreme Court, it should also include the “taking” that forces fracking down the throats of home-owning citizens thereby taking their property values, health, safety and quality of life. If Governor Hickenlooper wants to talk about “takings” and “compensation,” then by all means the Supreme Court should consider it both ways.

Will the Colorado Supreme Court compensate homeowners for the harms caused by fracking? An endless stream of stories race across the media in Colorado about how people have been hurt, wronged, impacted, made sick, left nearly homeless, etc. by fracking very near their homes. It’s time to let the Supreme Court weigh in.

Gary Wockner, PhD, is an environmental activist and writer based in Fort Collins and was heavily involved in supporting the moratoriums and bans. Contact: Gary@GaryWockner.com.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Leonardo DiCaprio Pledges to Divest From Fossil Fuels as Movement Grows 50-Fold in One Year 

Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill to Signal ‘Full-Throated Support’ of Obama’s ‘Aggressive’ Climate Plan

Hillary Clinton Breaks Keystone XL Silence, Announces Her Opposition to the Pipeline

Obama, Sanders, Kennedy Praise Pope’s Call to Action on Climate Change

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A glacier is seen in the Kenai Mountains on Sept. 6, near Primrose, Alaska. Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey have been studying the glaciers in the area since 1966 and their studies show that the warming climate has resulted in sustained glacial mass loss as melting outpaced the accumulation of new snow and ice. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By Mark Mancini

On Aug. 18, Iceland held a funeral for the first glacier lost to climate change. The deceased party was Okjökull, a historic body of ice that covered 14.6 square miles (38 square kilometers) in the Icelandic Highlands at the turn of the 20th century. But its glory days are long gone. In 2014, having dwindled to less than 1/15 its former size, Okjökull lost its status as an official glacier.

Read More Show Less
Members of Chicago Democratic Socialists of America table at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18. Alex Schwartz

By Alex Schwartz

Among the many vendors at the Logan Square Farmers Market on Aug. 18 sat three young people peddling neither organic vegetables, gourmet cheese nor handmade crafts. Instead, they offered liberation from capitalism.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
StephanieFrey / iStock / Getty Images

By Lauren Panoff, MPH, RD

Muffins are a popular, sweet treat.

Read More Show Less
Hackney primary school students went to the Town Hall on May 24 in London after school to protest about the climate emergency. Jenny Matthews / In Pictures / Getty Images

By Caroline Hickman

Eco-anxiety is likely to affect more and more people as the climate destabilizes. Already, studies have found that 45 percent of children suffer lasting depression after surviving extreme weather and natural disasters. Some of that emotional turmoil must stem from confusion — why aren't adults doing more to stop climate change?

Read More Show Less
Myrtle warbler. Gillfoto / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Bird watching in the U.S. may be a lot harder than it once was, since bird populations are dropping off in droves, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announces the co-founding of The Climate Pledge at the National Press Club on Sept. 19 in Washington, DC. Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Amazon

The day before over 1,500 Amazon.com employees planned a walkout to participate in today's global climate strike, CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled a sweeping plan for the retail and media giant to be carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris agreement schedule.

Read More Show Less

By Winona LaDuke

For the past seven years, the Anishinaabe people have been facing the largest tar sands pipeline project in North America. We still are. In these dying moments of the fossil fuel industry, Water Protectors stand, prepared for yet another battle for the water, wild rice and future of all. We face Enbridge, the largest pipeline company in North America, and the third largest corporation in Canada. We face it unafraid and eyes wide open, for indeed we see the future.

Read More Show Less
The climate crisis often intensifies systems of oppression. Rieko Honma / Stone / Getty Images Plus

By Mara Dolan

We see the effects of the climate crisis all around us in hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, and rising sea levels, but our proximity to these things, and how deeply our lives are changed by them, are not the same for everyone. Frontline groups have been leading the fight for environmental and climate justice for centuries and understand the critical connections between the climate crisis and racial justice, economic justice, migrant justice, and gender justice. Our personal experiences with climate change are shaped by our experiences with race, gender, and class, as the climate crisis often intensifies these systems of oppression.

Read More Show Less