Earlier this month, Longmont, Colorado, a city in the Denver metropolitan area with heavy residential development, passed new regulations allowing it to prevent fracking--a heavy industrial activity with toxic waste and dangerous chemicals--from occurring in a residential zone. The regulations hadn't been updated in ten years, so it was time to modernize them to keep up with the new techniques being used by the oil and gas industry in intense fracking. The rules have bipartisan support and one company has already agreed to the new terms, so the industry can live with them. Nevertheless, the State of Colorado has announced it is going to sue the City of Longmont.
The State of Colorado has also opposed Routt County's local power. I blogged back in February about how Routt County, in an effort to protect its drinking water, requires natural gas producers to sample and test all domestic water wells and springs within a project area and up to two miles beyond the furthest gas well prior to the start of any drilling--and monthly thereafter for the life of the well. In a letter earlier this month, the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission wrote that Routt County's water protection program is "inappropriate" and "unnecessary." The Commission asked the County to refrain from attaching any conditions at all to an oil and gas permit.
NRDC supports allowing communities to protect themselves and their future by restricting fracking in locations and establishing other protections. It's clear that state rules are not protective enough, and communities across the country and across the political spectrum want to establish strong safeguards to protect their children, their health, their water and their quality of life. Colorado should embrace local governments who want to protect their citizens.