With gas reaching $4.39/gallon in Colorado, Boulder County stepped up last month to fulfill its role as the capital of tone-deaf liberalism, extending a ban on oil and gas exploration in non-municipal areas. Tonight, Longmont's city council meets to discuss other, illegal drilling bans. Despite Longmont's reputation for being the city of sanity in a county sea of left wing wackos, there is a chance Longmont will join Boulder in their anti-drilling campaign.
One of the proposed regulations at the city council is a ban on oil and gas drilling in any area zoned as residential. The Attorney General's office says the ban is "unenforceable" as state laws and permitting supersede local rules and regulations.
Councilman Brian Bagley says he's "not coming from a sky is falling, extreme left, environmentalist prospective" in proposing the ban.
If you vote to ban oil and gas drilling Brian, uh, yes you are.
These local drilling ban attempts are the latest in the anti-drilling left wing campaign to ban drilling in any way they can.
Political operative Patrick Davis sums it up nicely in a recent email blast:
Anti-drilling groups are out trying to create panic in communities up and down Colorado's Front Range.
Even though gas prices are at record breaking levels, and even though jobs are in scarce supply, activists are out trying to convince local governments to pass new oil and gas restrictions at the local level that make it difficult or impossible to produce the energy resources that fuel our cars and heat our homes.
Most communities that have been spun up by extreme environmentalists have, after careful consideration, ignored the anti-drilling hype and thought better of creating a new maze of local regulations. Arapahoe and El Paso Counties, for example, both considered adopting extensive new limitations on oil and gas development in their areas, but then quickly backed off when discovering that Colorado already has the most restrictive oil and gas regulations in the country.
These bans, while pleasing to environmental activists, don't seem to have much basis in law. Assistant Boulder County Attorney Conrad Lattes recently told Boulder County Commissioners that their outright ban on all oil and gas development was not "legally possible."
From The Denver Post:
Toor told the commissioners' meeting audience that he was very sympathetic to their concerns and their calls for a permanent county drilling ban. But he also recognizes "the legal constraints that we have" in regulating oil and gas operations, which, he said, are "limits that can't be wished away."
Ultimately the issue isn't whether a ban will remain in place, as these types of bans have been defeated in court many times, but whether Longmont wants to lump itself in with the left wing wackos of Boulder.
Or, as Patrick Davis sums up: "Do local governments across Colorado support a sensible domestic energy production that creates jobs, or do they stand with the anti-drilling zealots in Boulder?"