In a ruling Thursday that overturned the city of Longmont’s ban on hydraulic fracture stimulation, a Boulder County, Colorado judge—and the case itself—illustrated the power that Proposition 89 would convey to municipalities and other local governments statewide.
Boulder Judge D.D. Mallard said on Thursday that Longmont’s charter amendment “clearly conflicted with the state’s regulations and its interest in the efficient development of oil and gas deposits,” the Denver Post reported Thursday. “While the court appreciates the Longmont citizens’ sincerely held beliefs about risks to their health and safety, the court does not find this is sufficient to completely devalue the state’s interest,” Mallard wrote.Under present Colorado law the state’s rules regarding oil and gas operations take precedence over local governments. But the language in Proposition 89 would reverse that. If state voters make it an amendment in November, the following language would be established as part of the Colorado constitution:
“To facilitate the conservation of Colorado’s environment, local governments have the power to enact laws, regulations, ordinances, and charter provisions that are more restrictive and protective of the environment than laws or regulations enacted or adopted by the state government. If any local law or regulation pursuant to this article conflicts with a state law or regulation, the more restrictive and protective law or regulation governs.”
The Denver Post reported that “proponents [of propositions 88 and 89] on Thursday said they have collected nearly 100,000 signatures for each measure. To get on the ballot, initiatives must have 86,105 verified signatures.”
“Collecting nearly 100,000 signatures on each measure in just 5 weeks’ time proves the overwhelming support amongst Colorado voters for commonsense protections against roughshod fracking,” said Mara Sheldon, spokesperson for Safe. Clean. Colorado,” KDVR reported.
Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper, has been a strong opponent of the initiatives. “These are radical ideas that have no place in our state Constitution. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to defeat them,” the Governor told Coloradans for Responsible Reform, a group that is working to support Colorado’s economy.
Oil and gas executives have been keeping a close watch on the politics surrounding drilling and fracturing limitations in Colorado. Noble Energy (ticker: NBL) CEO Charles Davidson discussed the ballot issues at length at the beginning of the company’s second quarter conference call yesterday. Noble announced in January that it planned to invest $3.2 billion in U.S. onshore development in 2014, with approximately $2 billion of that earmarked for Colorado.
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