Colorado’s Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about local governments trying to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
The case will decide if the cities of Longmont and Fort Collins can ban fracking. Both cities claim Colorado law doesn’t explicitly permit fracking, so a ban or moratorium should be legal. The oil and gas industry defeated the cities in lower courts, claiming that only the state has the authority to regulate fracking.
“Anti-energy advocates have fearmongered and invented white noise to confuse Coloradans on the facts of oil and gas development. Coloradans know that oil and gas in Colorado has produced jobs and energy safely, responsibly and soundly. People from both sides of the aisle agree that we should evict fracking bans” says Jonathan Lockwood, the executive director of the free market group Advancing Colorado, in a statement emailed to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The oil and gas industry in Colorado and other states has historically been regulated by the state, not local government. State-only regulation of fracking avoids creating a regulatory “patchwork” which will hamper energy development in Colorado. It will likely take months for the Colorado Supreme Court to issue a ruling.
Fracking has caused an economic boom in Colorado. In 2012, the oil and gas industry added $29.6 billion to Colorado’s economy, or about 10 percent of all economic activity that year in the state. The industries also supported 111,500 jobs, allowing the state to recover from the Great Recession faster than its neighbors.
Fracking in Colorado helped America pass Russia to become the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas. Oil production in 2014 was 80 percent higher than production in 2008.
Colorado contains much of the world’s largest untapped oil reserve, the Green River Formation. This formation alone contains up to three trillion barrels of untapped oil shale, half of which may be recoverable. That’s five and a half times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia. This single geologic formation could contain more oil than the rest of the world’s proven reserves combined.
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