While Gov. John Hickenlooper, industry leaders and environment advocates praised Colorado’s new statewide air-pollution rules for oil and gas operations, local elected officials and community activists are launching campaigns to buttress local control.
The elected officials, 50 from around the state, have sent a letter urging Hickenlooper and state lawmakers to reinforce local land-use power over oil and gas development.
Separately, Local Control Colorado, a coalition of community activists, is preparing to gather signatures for a November ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to allow stricter local limits.
“It is wishful thinking to think that better state air-emission rules are going to solve all the problems,” said Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones, a leader of the local government coalition who backed the state air rules. “But this does not change the fact that communities across Colorado want a say in whether or not industrial oil and gas activity can happen 501 feet from people’s homes. Local governments need that authority to decide their destiny.”
Approval of the statewide pollution rules and the continued push for greater local control come as the state is still embroiled in a legal battle over local power. The attorney general is suing Longmont over its rules for drilling. Four cities have permanently or temporarily banned hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. (continue reading)