The city of Longmont and environmental groups have appealed a Boulder district judge’s ruling overturning the city’s voter-approved ban on fracking, moving the issue to the Colorado Court of Appeals.
Longmont’s voters approved the ban in November 2012. It was the first city to have a voter-approved ban on fracking, and the outcome of the case is being closely watched by people involved in Colorado’s oil and gas industry as well as residents, local officials and environmental organizations who have raised concerns about drilling rigs near homes and schools.
Fracking, also called hydraulic fracturing, uses water, sand and chemicals under high pressure to crack underground rock formations to allow oil and natural gas molecules to flow from the rock into a well. The technique is credited with boosting U.S. production of oil and natural gas in the last few years.
But concerns have been raised about the health and environmental impacts of the oil and gas industry at large, with bans on the use of fracking viewed as a way to keep drilling rigs at bay.
Of the five bans approved by voters in 2012 and 2013, judges have stuck down three of them — in Longmont, Fort Collins and Lafayette — while the bans still stand in Boulder and Broomfield.