Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Supporters of Longmont's fracking ban hold signs ahead of the 2012 vote.  (Photo: FreeRangeLongmont.com)

Colorado Judge Lets Fracking Trump Public Health

 Boulder County district court judge strikes down city of Longmont's fracking ban

Andrea Germanos

A Colorado district court judge on Thursday invalidated the city of Longmont's fracking ban, a decision celebrated by oil and gas industry and denounced by critics who say it prioritizes the extractive process over public health and the environment.

Longmont made a landmark move in 2012 when voters approved with strong support an amendment to the city’s charter to ban fracking.

The vote was promptly followed by a lawsuit by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) challenging the ban. State regulatory body Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and locally-operating oil and gas company TOP Operating later joined the suit.

In his ruling, Judge Mallard stated, "The Court is not in a position to agree or disagree with any of these exhibits that support the Defendants’ position that hydraulic fracturing causes serious health, safety, and environmental risks."

"While the Court appreciates the Longmont citizens’ sincerely-held beliefs about risks to their health and safety, the Court does not find this is sufficient to completely devalue the State’s interest, thereby making the matter one of purely local interest."

There is "an irreconcilable conflict" between the city's interest in banning fracking and the state's interest in extraction," Mallard found.

Longmont's fracking ban "impedes the orderly development of Colorado’s mineral resources," and is invalid, the ruling states.

The judge also ordered the fracking ban to hold during the time allotted for appeals.

Tisha Schuller, head of COGA, said the decision was "something to celebrate for the industry."

But supporters of the fracking ban have vowed to continue their fight.

“While we respectfully disagree with the Court’s final decision, she was correct that we were asking this Court, in part, to place protection from the health, safety, and environmental risks from fracking over the development of mineral resources,” stated Kaye Fissinger, President of Our Health, Our Future, Our Longmont, one of the intervenors for the city in the lawsuit.

“It’s tragic that the judge views the current law in Colorado is one in which fracking is more important than public health; reversing that backwards priority is a long-term battle that we’re determined to continue,” Fissinger stated.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·


US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·


'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·


Health Minister Says 'Highly Transmissible' Omicron Hitting Young Children Hard in South Africa

In South Africa's worst-affected province, children under the age of five now make up the second-largest group being admitted to hospitals.

Julia Conley ·


Groups Tell UN Food Agency to Ditch 'Toxic Alliance' With Pesticide Association

"This partnership with CropLife is in direct conflict with FAO's mandate as a U.N. institution to fulfill human rights to health, adequate food, clean water and environment, and safe working conditions."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo