Reports the Denver Business Journal:
The Colorado Oil & Gas Association on Monday sued the city of Longmont, asking a judge to overturn its voter-approved ban on hydraulic fracturing.
In the suit the trade group filed in Weld County District Court, COGA said the city’s ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, denies owners of mineral rights under the city, valued at $500 million, access to their property.
A lawsuit over the city’s ban on fracking was anticipated. Gov. John Hickenlooper said Dec. 6 that, while the state wouldn’t pursue a lawsuit against the ban on fracking, it would support any oil and gas company that did sue.
While Hick may be flip-flopping on guns in a move leftward, he remains a centrist on energy, particularly when it comes to fracking. His support of this lawsuit is sure to further inflame the environmentalist movement in Colorado, which has little love for him.
Though Hick may find himself even more loathed by left-wing environmentalists, his support of the lawsuit, should it be successful, could end up helping better fund Longmont area schools and other public services.
This is why:
COGA said Longmont’s oil and gas minerals have been valued at $500 million. Royalty payments on those minerals could amount to $100 million, the group said.
And because the city itself owns about 90 percent of its mineral rights, taxpayers there are missing out on as much as $90 million in royalty payments, COGA said in its announcement.
In a city like Longmont $90 million is not chump change. While the state continues to suffer from a sluggish economy, forcing budget cuts, it’s probably not smart to deprive yourself of nearly $100 million from a growth industry.