A group of Fort Collins residents and business owners have formed a coalition to oppose a hydraulic fracturing ban to be considered by the Fort Collins City Council tonight.
The coalition, comprised of more than 50 members, sent a petition to the city council urging them to vote no on the two ban proposals, according to a news release. One proposal would put the ban on the city’s April ballot, while the other would be a council-initiated ban.
Many say the ban is sure to end in a lawsuit similar to one that Longmont is in with the state of Colorado. The state has said the city does not have the authority to regulate operational aspects of the oil and gas industry.
“Placing a ban will virtually guarantee an expensive lawsuit to defend against; a lawsuit which would not occur should the city council choose to actually study the merits of fracking instead of pulling a knee-jerk reaction to a well-organized coalition of activists,” Sean Dougherty, a Fort Collins resident, said in a news release. “There is only one operator pulling permits within city limits and any permits they pull are in an area that’s been operated in since the 1920s.”
Proponents of the ban say more research should be done on fracking before allowing it in city limits. They say the practice, which involves shooting water, sand and other chemicals through shale formations to extract oil and gas, could harm the area’s water and air quality.
But those against the ban say fracking technology has been around for decades with no adverse effects, and that the oversight from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is thorough.
“I don’t fear for the health of my family because I understand the science and facts behind this technology, as well as the regulations currently in place that are constantly being updated,” Fort Collins resident Debbie Healy said in the release. “The ban would achieve little more than making a political statement.”