State high court to rule on city fracking bans

Posted at 10:43 AM, Sep 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-21 12:43:42-04

The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether cities can ban hydraulic fracturing, stepping into a high-stakes battle over whether local governments can impose tougher oil and gas rules than the state.

The court agreed Monday to hear cases from Longmont and Fort Collins. Longmont voters banned hydraulic fracturing in 2012. Fort Collins voters approved a 5-year moratorium in 2013.

Lower courts overturned the restrictions after the Colorado Oil and Gas Association filed suit, saying regulation is the state's prerogative.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, injects a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals underground to break open formations and make it easier to recover oil and gas. It's a widespread practice that led to an energy boom.

Opponents worry about health and environmental effects. The industry says it's safe.