Colorado Court Allows Ballot Initiatives On Fracking

By Elizabeth Kerpon, EWG energy and natural resources intern

The Colorado Supreme Court has cleared the way for ballot initiatives that would permit municipalities to ban hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas.

The Colorado court’s decision, issued Monday, rejected challenges from oil and gas industry lawyers and held that proposed state ballot initiatives that would allow local governments to curb fracking were legal.  The Colorado ruling marked the third recent victory in state courts for communities seeking to restrict fracking operations. 

Last December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out portions of a state law that restricted municipalities’ power to regulate fracking.  And on Monday, New York state’s highest court ruled that local communities could ban fracking,

These state and local efforts, and others cropping up around the country, could prove a powerful check against expansion of oil and gas companies’ fracking operations.

The Colorado ballot initiatives would give governments at the town, city and county level the ability to ban fracking or enact strict regulation of drilling activities.  If supporters can collect 86,000 signatures per initiative before August 4, Coloradans will cast their votes on the measures in the November elections.  

EWG supports communities’ efforts to protect their residents from fracking’s inherent risks, especially in the absence of meaningful federal oversight of the practice.

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