LONGMONT — A lawsuit by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission against Longmont should be thrown out, the city argued Friday.
The COGCC sued the city in late July, arguing that many of Longmont’s newly adopted oil and gas regulations trespass on state authority. On Friday, the city responded by saying the commission had no business suing Longmont in the first place.
“The commission does not have the authority to sue Longmont,” read the motion by city attorney Eugene Mei, assistant city attorney Dan Kramer and special counsel Phil Barber of Denver. “The commission has not been injured by the ordinance and thus has no standing to sue; and the court lacks jurisdiction since the commission’s challenge is unripe.”
An issue is “unripe” if there is no current controversy to sue over. In this case, no company has yet filed for a state permit to drill in Longmont since the adoption of the new ordinances, the attorneys said.
The city ordinance was the first update of Longmont’s oil and gas rules since 2000 and included both a minimum set of standards — generally based on state requirements — and a recommended set of standards that operators could agree to follow in order to get a local permit more quickly. The new rules specifically prohibited drilling in residential zones, though an exception could be made by the city if necessary.