After passing a controversial ban on drilling, Longmont city officials were waiting for word of the State's lawsuit. Yesterday, it arrived in the form of an email from assistant attorney general Jake Matter, who typically covers natural resources. According to the Longmont Times-Call:
Assistant attorney general Jake Matter sent an email to Longmont city attorney Eugene Mei on Tuesday notifying him that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has "instructed me to prepare and file a complaint against the city."
While fracking makes headlines, at the heart of the lawsuit is Longmont's home rule status. While Colorado's Supreme Court ruled that cities can’t completely ban drilling but can regulate land use, the city recently banned drilling in residential areas on a slim 4-3 vote on July 17.
Mike King, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, parent organization of the COGCC, previously sent a letter to the Longmont city council highlighting the damaging effects of the proposed regulations. From his letter:
"A patchwork of local regulations pertaining to oil and gas operations will inhibit what the General Assembly has recognized as a necessary activity and will impede the orderly development of Colorado's mineral resources…."
With Colorado's 8.2% unemployment problem, one would think that cities would welcome economic development opportunities. And, honestly, we thought this debate was somewhat settled after Governor Hickenlooper recorded a PSA on the safety of fracking. But, unfortunately, politicians like U.S. Rep Jared Polis have, ahem, poisoned the well by spreading misinformation, like this statement from a 2011 press release announcing his support of the FRAC Act:
"There is a growing discrepancy between the natural gas industry’s claim that nothing ever goes wrong and the drumbeat of investigations and personal tragedies which demonstrate a very different reality."
In fact, there hasn't been a single documented case of fracking causing groundwater contamination in history, and fracking has been used in the oil and gas industry since 1947. So, Rep. Polis, it would seem that you're the one in a very different reality. The reality in which the rest of Colorado resides includes the need for employment and energy independence. But, of course, the majority of Coloradans aren't multimillionaires either.