Fort Collins now has an ordinance that bans hydraulic fracturing within its city limits.
The city council in the northern Front Range municipality approved the law Tuesday evening, defying a threat from Gov. John Hickenlooper that the state would sue to prevent local regulation of the oil and gas industry.
Hickenlooper told a Denver TV news reporter last week that litigation in which the state would argue that only the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission can set rules for the industry would likely be pursued against any city that attempts to ban fracking.
The state's principal oil and gas industry trade group, Colorado Oil and Gas Association, may also challenge the ordinance in court.
"COGA is evaluating taking legal action; the State Supreme Court has clearly stated that drilling cannot be banned within a city, county, or municipality," Tisha Schuller, the organization's president and chief executive officer, said. "Because any new wells in Fort Collins would be hydraulically fractured, a ban on hydraulic fracturing is a ban on oil and gas development."
The ordinance extends further than just a fracking prohibition; it forecloses any oil and gas exploration in Fort Collins.
Fort Collins is now the second municipality in Colorado to ban fracking. Longmont did so last November.