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Fort Collins, Colorado Poised to Ban Fracking

City council passes initial reading for ban ordinance 5 - 2

Andrea Germanos

The city of Fort Collins, Colorado is poised to ban fracking.

Members of the city council voted 5-2 on Tuesday (.pdf) in support of an ordinance to ban fracking within the city limits. 

Christina Cafaro, a supporter of the ban, said, "A ban can be undone; a fracking disaster cannot."

Gary Wockner, a Fort Collins resident who represents Clean Water Action and Waterkeeper Alliance in Colorado, writes how the Fort Collins ban followed the momentum of Longmont, which was the first Colorado city to ban fracking this November:

a small band of fracktivists in Longmont, Colorado, in part led by a very small contingent of activists from the environmental group Food & Water Watch, made national news when they led a successful ballot initiative to ban fracking in the November 2012 election. This ban occurred with almost no financial backing (less than $20,000), with almost no support from other environmental groups, and through the sheer grit and moxy of its leaders. Further, the Big Oil and Gas Industry spent more than a half million dollars trying to defeat this ballot initiative in a town that cast only 42,773 votes—that’s more than $10/vote. And when the vote was final, the result sent shock waves around the state. Longmont is not a raging environmental hotbed—if a ban could pass in Longmont while being outspent 25 to 1, it could likely pass in nearly any city in the state. [...]

Cities like Fort Collins are making clear that it makes no sense to put a ban to a vote when it is almost assured to pass, and so therefore a smart and progressive council has the obligation to pass a ban with a simple ordinance. Further, more than a dozen small ad-hoc “fracktivist” groups have sprouted up around the state pushing their local governments hard and publicly. The group that led much of the fight in Fort Collins is Frack Free Fort Collins, while some of the names of other groups around the state have been more creative like Erie Rising (in Erie, Colorado) and The Rio Grande Watchdogs (in the Rio Grande valley). [...]

The Big Oil and Gas Industry doesn’t care and will say and do absolutely anything to anyone in order to increase their short-term profits. But the citizens of Colorado—at least in Longmont and Fort Collins, so far—do care and are learning that they don’t deserve what they’re getting, so they’re fighting for what they want.

The council also passed a resolution to support the city of Longmont in the litigation it has faced since voting for a fracking ban.

The second and final consideration for the ban is set for the city council's meeting next month.


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