A New York state court has ruled that local government, indeed, has authority to ban fracking, according to this report by ProPublica.
And, the case involved a Denver-based drilling company, Anschutz Exploration Corp., which challenged a ban on drilling by the town of Dryden.
Who knows if the ruling will have an effect on the debate in Colorado, but the debate rages on. The state Legislature is considering several bills this session about whether locals have a say or whether the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rules.
On Tuesday, El Paso County commissioners bowed to state control in an agreement to coordinate with the state on groundwater quality monitoring. The Colorado Attorney General's Office has asserted the COGCC has ultimate authority over drilling and that local governments can't stop it, much less regulate it.
But as ProPublica reports:
State Supreme Court Phillip Rumsey addressed this point in his decision, writing: "nowhere in legislative history provided to the court is there any suggestion that the Legislature intended — as argued by Anschutz — to encourage the maximum ultimate recovery of oil and gas regardless of other considerations, or to preempt local zoning authority."
Colorado House Bill 1277 would have given local government a say through land-use regulations but on Monday it was postponed indefinitely, which means it was killed.