Activists trying to reinstate Longmont’s fracking ban

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LONGMONT, Colo. — Activists are trying to reinstate Longmont’s ban on hydraulic fracturing now that a new state law gives local governments more authority over the oil and gas industry.

Groups called Colorado Rising and Our Longmont said Wednesday they will ask a state court to allow Longmont to enforce the ban, which was approved by voters in 2012 but overturned by the state Supreme Court in 2016.

The court said only the state could regulate the industry under laws in force at the time.

The new law, passed this year, lets local governments impose some rules to protect public health and the environment and limit the location of new wells.

“We have filed a motion to reopen the case,” Joe Salazar, Director of Colorado Rising, said.

“There is nothing in Senate Bill 181 that says it prohibits local governments from banning oil and gas activities within their borders,” Salazar said.

Longmont officials and an oil and gas industry group had no immediate comment but planned to release statements later.

Defend Colorado, an economic group in Colorado, is against the effort.

“Banning fracking has devastating economic impacts,” said Sean Duffy, director of Defend Colorado. “Families that have property rights in the minerals — what happens to all these folks?”

Supporters of the 2012 effort have hope their ban will finally take effect.

“We voted for health and safety overwhelmingly in 2012. We deserve that vote and our voices to be heard and honored,” Michael Bellmont said.

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