The Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against two Colorado towns that have passed ordinances banning fracking, the Denver Post reports. The industry trade group is suing the cities of Fort Collins and Lafayette for fracking bans they passed in November, saying that only the state has the right to regulate drilling.
In November, Lafayette, Fort Collins, Broomfield, and Boulder passed measures to limit or ban fracking in their cities. “I’m not surprised. We knew this might happen,” Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat told the Post.
COGA’s president, Tisha Schuller, said it is “regrettable and unfortunate that COGA had to take this action,” and blamed “extremists” using “fear and misinformation” for the trade group’s lawsuit against the cities’ fracking bans. “With 95 percent of all wells in Colorado hydraulically fractured, any ban on fracking is a ban on oil and gas development,” Schuller said in a statement.
According to the Post, COGA is also suing the city of Longmont for “adopting an ordinance that put controls on drilling and banned fracking in residential neighborhoods.” Also on Tuesday, the pro-fracking Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition, which opposed a ballot measure to place a 5-year moratorium on fracking, filed suit against the city of Broomfield challenging the conduct of city officials during the election after the measure passed by a narrow margin, Aljazeera reports.
The Fort Collins measure placed a 5-year moratorium on fracking in the city and the Lafayette measure banned fracking completely. COGA spent about $900,000 to oppose the four ballot initiatives, while anti-fracking groups spent about $26,000.
“The people of Colorado now know that this industry will do everything within its power to undermine democracy, diminish home values,” Gary Wockner, the Colorado Program Director of Clean Water Action, told the Post. “It’s now the local cities’ job to vigorously protect the public and defend the will of the voters.”