Fracking

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Hydraulic fracturing site
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the process of injecting fluid--mostly water and sand (or proppant), but with additional chemicals--into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release the hydrocarbons including natural gas inside. It’s the use of hydraulic fracturing in combination with horizontal drilling that has lead to a boom in natural gas production by making access to the oil and gas in shale formations commercially viable.[1] This combination of water, chemicals and sand is injected into horizontally drilled wells at high speeds and pressures until gas begins to flow. Fracking can also release trapped oil and water, known as produced water.[2]

This practice is controversial as many of the chemicals used are alleged by opponents to be toxic or carcinogenic and those activists that are against the method argue that it releases methane and harmful chemicals into nearby ground water. There is a growing movement, especially in Colorado, to impose bans on the use of fracking, often through local ballot measures and through a possible statewide measure in 2014.

The website called Frac Focus lists the chemicals reportedly used in the hydraulic fracturing process. Those who defend fracking argue that none of them are toxic or particularly dangerous in any way.[3]

Current Related measures

See also: Notable 2014 local measures

Local measures

Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot City of Niles "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Initiative (November 2014)
Defeatedd City of Loveland Two Year Fracking Suspension Initiative, Question 1 (June 2014)
Defeatedd Youngstown "Community Bill of Rights" Fracking Ban Charter Amendment (May 2014)
Defeatedd Johnson County Fracking Ban Referendum (March 2014)

Statewide measures

Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Colorado Fracking Ban Initiative (2014)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Michigan Fracking Ban Initiative (2014)

Related lawsuits

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.[4][5]


November 5, 2013 measures

Following the November 5, 2013 election lawsuits were also filed against Lafayette, Broomfield and Fort Collins seeking to overturn the fracking bans that were approved in these three cities.

External links

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References