Quantcast
Energy

Colorado Supreme Court to Make Historic Ruling on Fracking Bans

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

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
TAFE SA TONSLEY / Flickr

Worldwide Clean Energy Investments Hit $333.5 Billion Last Year

Global investment in renewable energy hit $333.5 billion in 2018, the second-highest on record, according to a new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

That's a 3 percent jump from 2016 and 7 percent short of the $360 billion record set in 2015.

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy

How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy

By Jeremy Deaton

Bitcoin, the much-hyped cryptocurrency, made headlines recently for driving a surge in power use. Around the globe, digital entrepreneurs are 'mining' bitcoins by solving complex math problems, using supercomputers to get the job done. Those supercomputers use a ton of power, which largely comes from coal- and gas-fired power plants spewing gobs of carbon pollution.

But while hackers wreak havoc on the climate, blockchain, the bleeding-edge technology behind bitcoin, could one day help clean up the mess. Climate wonks say blockchain has a role to play in the clean-energy economy, helping homeowners sell electricity, allowing businesses to trade carbon credits, and making it easier for governments to track greenhouse gas emissions.

Keep reading... Show less
Abdallah Issa / Flickr

Post-Fire Landslide Problems Likely to Worsen: What Can Be Done?

By Lee MacDonald

Several weeks after a series of wildfires blackened nearly 500 square miles in Southern California, a large winter storm rolled in from the Pacific. In most places the rainfall was welcomed and did not cause any major flooding from burned or unburned hillslopes.

But in the town of Montecito, a coastal community in Santa Barbara County that lies at the foot of the mountains blackened by the Thomas Fire, a devastating set of sediment-laden flows killed at least 20 people and damaged or destroyed more than 500 homes. In the popular press these flows were termed "mudslides," but with some rocks as large as cars these are more accurately described as hyperconcentrated flows or debris flows, depending on the amount of sediment mixed with the water.

Keep reading... Show less
The most notable observation from the count was DeMartino's sighting of the golden crowned kinglet, but in general volunteers found the same species they normally do. (Photo above is of a golden crowned kinglet, but not the one DeMartino spotted.) Melissa McMasters

Birders Get a First Look at How 2017 California Wildfires Affected Wildlife

By Matt Blois

A neighbor knocked on Rick Burgess's door at about 9:30 p.m. to tell him a fire was coming towards his home in Ventura, California. When he looked outside he saw a column of smoke, and the hills were already starting to turn orange. He loaded up his truck with a collection of native plants he was using to write a countywide plant guide, and barely had enough time to get out.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
A learning garden from Kimbal Musk's nonprofit called Big Green. The Kitchen Community

Elon Musk's Brother Wants to Bring #RealFood to 100,000 Schools Across America

Kimbal Musk's nonprofit organization, The Kitchen Community, is expanding into a new, national nonprofit called Big Green, to build hundreds of outdoor Learning Garden classrooms across America.

Learning Gardens teach children an understanding of food, healthy eating and garden skills through experiential learning and garden-based education that tie into existing school curriculum, such as math, science and literacy.

Keep reading... Show less
Drilling fluids spilled into Ohio wetlands during construction of the Rover Pipeline in April. Sierra Club

Rover Pipeline Spills Another 150,000 Gallons of Drilling Fluid Into Ohio Wetlands

Energy Transfer Partners' troubled $4.2 billion Rover pipeline has spilled nearly 150,000 gallons of drilling fluid into wetlands near the Tuscarawas River in Stark County, Ohio—the same site where it released 2 million gallons in April.

The 713-mile pipeline, which will carry fracked gas across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and Canada, is currently under construction by the same Dallas-based company that built the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Large Dams Fail on Climate Change and Indigenous Rights

Brazil has flooded large swaths of the Amazon for hydro dams, despite opposition from Indigenous Peoples, environmentalists and others. The country gets 70 percent of its electricity from hydropower. Brazil's government had plans to expand development, opening half the Amazon basin to hydro. But a surprising announcement could halt that.

Keep reading... Show less
Jim Henderson / Wikimedia Commons

World's Largest Money Manager: Companies Must Respond to Social and Climate Challenges

The world's largest publicly traded companies must take a more active role in solving social issues or face blowback from investors, the CEO of BlackRock said Tuesday.

"To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society," Laurence Fink wrote in his annual letter to CEOs of companies in which BlackRock invests. BlackRock is the world's largest money manager, with more than $6 trillion in assets.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!