(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Canadian natural gas development company EnCana is worried about its Colorado fracking colony, where the locals are restless and suggesting they might prefer local control over the industrial development in their midst.
CALGARY — Canadian energy giant Encana Corp. says its operations in Colorado could be hampered by a state ballot initiative that, if successful, would bring oil and gas drilling under local government control.
Groups concerned about the impacts of industry activity want to amend the state's constitution to give municipalities the right to limit energy development.
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, local governments in Colorado may place restrictions on the time, place or method of oil and gas development, including but not limited to the use of hydraulic fracturing, that are intended to protect their communities and citizens," the amendment reads.
When the colonies first dared to break from the Monarchy, one particularly incorrigible rabble-rouser—the very one who wrote the treasonous Declaration of Independence—noted that:
Such disrespect for the Crown, is also troubling to the Governor, who wishes to quell the Colonists’ unruly ways:
Hickenlooper organized a news conference on Tuesday to highlight the new rules, which he supported amid growing criticism of his administration’s support for so-called “fracking.”
A groundswell of anger intensified after the state sued Longmont in 2012 for enacting oil and gas rules and regulations that overstepped the state’s authority. Longmont was then sued by the oil and gas industry last year after voters there backed prohibiting fracking altogether. The state has also been supportive of that lawsuit, arguing that a patchwork of local rules and regulations make compliance difficult.
Hickenlooper said he is not deaf to the growing concerns.
But the drillers remained troubled by the disgruntled surface-dwellers that live above their minerals:
Encana flagged the initiative as a risk factor in its year-end disclosure documents.
"Though broad in nature, the ballot initiative is understood to be primarily intended to restrict oil and gas development in the state," the Calgary-based company said.
"This and other possible measures could make certain Colorado jurisdictions inaccessible to drilling in the future. Therefore, it is possible that the company's operations in Colorado could be impeded should such initiatives succeed."
Thus the Colorado Oil and Gas Association—which represents the energy companies in the Colorado colony has filed suit to put local communities back in their proper place, under the rule of the state:
In addition to the Longmont court challenge, separate lawsuits are ongoing in Broomfield, Fort Collins and Lafayette. The Broomfield case is based on alleged election administration errors, while the challenges in Fort Collins and Lafayette are on the merits of the anti-fracking initiatives themselves, similar to the case in Longmont.
So disaffected locals seem to be turning to this novel idea of ‘self-governance’ and so-called ‘democracy’:
On Feb. 21, a coalition calling itself Local Control Colorado submitted language to the state for a constitutional amendment that would allow communities to ban fracking without having to fear being sued.
If the ballot language were approved then the group would need 86,500 valid signatures by Aug. 4 to send the question to voters.
The proposed language reads, “Not withstanding any other provision of law, local governments in Colorado may place restrictions on the time, place or method of oil-and-gas development, including but not limited to the use of hydraulic fracturing, that are intended to protect their communities and citizens.
“No local government may enact any limitations, rules or regulations on oil-and-gas development that are less stringent than existing state and federal provisions,” it continues.
“Any such restrictions placed by local governments on oil-and-gas development are deemed not to be in conflict with the state’s interests,” the language concludes.
Some locals even dared to send a declaration to the Governor urging that he recognize local jurisdiction over zoning and land use:
“While the State has an important role to play in setting broad statewide protections, local governments should be able to go beyond this baseline; the fact is, local governments are best equipped to make local decisions about land use in their communities — not the State,” the letter concluded. “Please recognize and support our rights and responsibilities to make these decisions and take action to assure local control over oil and gas development.”
“Local elected officials need assurance that the state will recognize and support our rights and responsibilities to make land use decisions, including controlling oil and gas development,” added Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry. “With multiple pending legal challenges to communities’ right to self-determination, time is of the essence.”
“It is crucial for local officials to have the authority to regulate the pace and scale of oil and gas drilling within our communities so we can ensure the health and safety of our residents, maintain local property values and foster our long-term economic vitality,” continued Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones. “Without a common sense solution, cities, towns and counties are thwarted in making decisions that are in the best interest of their residents without the fear of expensive litigation.”