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Supreme Court Overturns Local Colorado Fracking Ban

Two Colorado municipalities have tried to ban hydraulic fracturing, but the state’s Supreme Court has had the final word, ruling that the two moratoriums on fracking were illegal.

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the state’s constitution offsets decisions made by local communities aimed at limiting hydraulic fracturing.

Related: Low Oil Prices? Texas Is Doing Just Fine

The Supreme Court's unanimously ruled that Longmont's ban on hydraulic fracturing and Fort Collins' five-year moratorium on fracking were illegal.

In 2012, residents of Longmont voted to ban fracking within the city limits. The following year, voters in Fort Collins approved of a five-year moratorium there.

The two cities are both north of Denver and in areas where there has been a lot of fracking—at least until the oil price crisis led to a slowdown.

Related: Why Iran’s Shale Oil Discovery Won’t Add To The Glut

It’s a sound victory for the industry, but the game is not over yet. Opponents are warning that the Supreme Court’s ruling will only lead to stepped up activism and a concerted effort to place anti-fracking measures on the state ballot in November, for which they only need 100,000 signatures by August.

If it gets on the ballot, it could upset the balance of power here, giving more to municipalities to deal with fracking.

Colorado is but one state caught up in legal battles over fracking. Authorities in Vermont and New York have banned fracking.

Related: Why China Is Really Dictating the Oil Supply Glut

In November 2014, the city of Denton, Texas, voted overwhelmingly to ban fracking, and the drilling stopped immediately. Lawsuits followed and the fracking ban was repealed only a month later.

Proponents of fracking argue that the banks would severely disrupt the state’s economy.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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