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City of Fort Collins Five Year Fracking Suspension Initiative, Question 2A (November 2013)

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A City of Fort Collins Five Year Fracking Suspension Initiative, Question 2A was on the November 5, 2013, election ballot for voters in the city of Fort Collins in Larimer County, Colorado. It was approved.

The measure established an ordinance prohibiting for five years the use of hydraulic facturing, the method of extracting oil and gas known as fracking, and prohibiting for the same time the storage of any waste products associated with fracking in the city limits. This measure was on the ballot through citizen initiative petition. The ordinance approved by Question 2A also called for studies and research on whether there are in fact harmful effects that might come from fracking.[1][2]

Election results

Fort Collins Question 2A
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 20,136 55.36%
No16,23544.64%
These results are from the Larimer County elections office.

Text of measure

Issue 2A:

An ordinance placing a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and the storage of its waste products within the City of Fort Collins or on lands under its jurisdiction for a period of five years, without exemption or exception, in order to fully study the impacts of this process on property values and human health, which moratorium can be lifted upon a ballot measure approved by the people of the City of Fort Collins and which shall apply retroactively as of the date this measure was found to have qualified for placement on the ballot.[1][3]

Support

Supporters

  • Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins (petitioner)[4]
  • Councilwoman Lisa Poppaw

Arguments in favor

Supporters of fracking bans argued that the fracking process allows methane gas and carcinogenic and toxic chemicals to be released into groundwater. And in general they claimed that fracking is harmful to the nearby air and water and that citizens have a right to ban it in populated areas like cities and towns.[5]

Opposition

Opponents

  • Councilman Wade Troxell

Arguments against

Troxell stated that he would be in the front ranks opposing Issue 2A. He implied that the moratorium had no practical purpose and unfairly targets the one oil company working in the city. Troxell said, "This potentially could greatly harm Fort Collins."[2]

Path to the ballot

People formed the group Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins and collected over 8,000 signatures to put their initiative on the ballot, which would suspend all fracking in city limits for five years. The required threshold for valid signatures was only 3,900 and Citizens for a Healthy For Collins cleared this easily. Campaign organizer Kelly Giddens said, "We worked really hard to get a lot of signatures from all of the citizens of Fort Collins."[6]

Related lawsuits

CO Oil and Gas Association

Immediately after election results were finalized the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), which was one of the main opponents to the fracking bans passed in four Colorado cities on November 5, 2013, sued the city of Fort Collins and Lafayette. The lawsuit claims that the fracking bans passed on the city ballots are illegal because case law and regulations dictate that only the state has right to regulate drilling. Three groups in support of the Question 2A and the Fort Collins fracking ban, the Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins, the Sierra Club and Earthworks, have filed a motion with the District Court to be allowed to join the city as defendants against the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, claiming to have a legal interest in the outcome of the lawsuit against the city.[7]

A lawsuit was also brought against the fracking ban in Broomfield, but this suit focuses on allegedly improper vote-counting procedures used.[8]

Longmont

In 2012, Longmont voters approved a citizen initiated charter amendment to ban hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a contentious method of extracting oil and gas. The measure was approved by nearly 60 percent of voters. Two lawsuits were filed against Longmont over this ban. The most recent lawsuit features the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) and the state's Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission as plaintiffs. According to a Colorado Open Records Act request, both lawsuits together had already cost the city of Longmont almost $69,000 in legal fees as of March 31, 2013. On July 24, 2014, Boulder District Court Judge Dolores Mallard overruled the ban, saying that the city of Longmont "does not have the authority to prohibit what the state authorizes and permits." Mallard cited Voss v. Lundvall, a 1992 court ruling that gave states, rather than cities, control over oil and gas extraction regulations and bans. Question 300, however, remains in effect, since the ruling was immediately put on hold due to an appeal by Question 300 supporters. Anti-fracking lawyers and activists have pledged to take the appeal all the way to the Supreme Court if that is what it takes. Although Mallard's ruling will be counterfeited by a ruling from a higher court, it sets in motion a process likely to result in a judicial precedent that could apply to all of the many local ballot measures that seek to ban fracking in Colorado.[9][10]

Similar measures

Local

Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Loveland Two Year Fracking Suspension Initiative

Statewide

See also

External links

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Suggest a link

Additional reading

References