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Corporate Power vs. People Power in Colorado Fracking Fight

Oil and gas industry sues city of Longmont contending their right to frack for profits

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

(Photo: FreeRangeLongmont.com)A battle between corporate power and the voice of the people is underway in Longmont, Colorado, where the oil and gas industry has sued the city over its recently enacted ban on fracking.

In November, 60% of Longmont voters said 'yes' on Ballot Question 300, which prohibited fracking within the city limits, and Longmont became the first city in the state to enact such a ban, passing the measure with both Republican and Democratic support.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association wasted no time in preparing to fight for what it saw as its rightful goods and profits. The New York Times reported in November:

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the main lobbying group for the energy industry here, criticized the ban as confrontational and encroaching on the private property of companies that have rights to oil and gas buried deep beneath Longmont’s streets, parks and reservoirs.

“Are the taxpayers of Longmont prepared to provide fair compensation to all of the oil and gas lease holders in Longmont?” said Tisha Schuller, the group’s president.

On Monday, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association filed a lawsuit to overturn the ban. 

But the people of Longmont are ready for a fight to defend their environment and public health.

"We will vigorously defend our charter and the will of the people," City Council woman Katie Witt said.

In a sign that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is on the side of corporations, the Denver Post reports:

Hickenlooper on Dec. 6 said the state will not sue Longmont again over the action of voters but that it will support any lawsuit by companies.

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