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Court rules for fracking, new NorthCom chief, Cimarron interchange update, and more 

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Court rules for fracking

The Colorado Supreme Court has overturned Fort Collins' five-year moratorium on fracking and Longmont's ban on the practice, saying the state's oil and gas regulations trump local laws.

"Today's decision protects private property rights, which are a main driver for the energy renaissance in this country," Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director Tracee Bentley said in a release. Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith had the opposite reaction, stating in a press release that, "We're still evaluating the specifics of these decisions, and the Fort Collins decision appears to be particularly narrow. But, at first glance, they are disappointing."

He added, "We believe that good policy-making happens from the ground up and that local communities are best-suited to make decisions about what happens with oil and gas drilling within their borders."

Two initiatives are being petitioned by Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED) in hopes of making the November ballot. Both would change Colorado's constitution, one allowing local governments to decide on oil and gas guidelines, the other increasing setbacks for oil and gas activities. — JAS

NorthCom chief confirmed

Gen. Lori Robinson will take over May 13 as head of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, a bi-national command with Canada. Both are based at Peterson Air Force Base.

Robinson currently is commander of Pacific Air Forces, air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command, and executive director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire and Troy State University in Alabama, Robinson participated in 2013 Leadership at the Peak at the Center for Creative Leadership in Colorado Springs. According to her online Air Force biography, Robinson has not been previously assigned to Northern Command or Peterson.

Robinson, who earned her fourth star in October 2014, replaces Navy Adm. Bill Gortney, who took over the command position in December 2014. — PZ

Keyser makes ballot

Former state Rep. Jon Keyser is back from the dead, after the U.S. Senate candidate initially was told he failed to make the Republican primary ballot.

Keyser needed 1,500 valid petition signatures from Republican voters in each of Colorado's seven Congressional districts, for a total of 10,500 signatures, to make the ballot. But the Secretary of State's Office announced that he fell 86 signatures short of the mark. Keyser, however, legally challenged the ruling and won.

At issue was a single petition gatherer who had not updated the address on his voter registration as legally required. The petitioner had recently moved. Thus, any signatures that listed the petitioner's new address were not counted as valid. A court, however, ruled Keyser "substantially complied" with the Election Code."

That ruling meant the signatures were counted, and Keyser made the ballot, joining El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and Jack Graham, a former Colorado State athletic director. Two others, Robert Blaha of Colorado Springs and former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, also were disqualified due to insufficient valid signatures. Both have filed legal challenges, and as of press time, neither outcome was decided. The Secretary of State delayed the deadline for certifying candidates until May 4 on the orders of a District Court judge.

Meanwhile, liberal group ProgressNow claims to have identified more invalid signatures for Keyser, which could throw his candidacy into question. — JAS

I-25 work ramps up

Nightly lane restrictions for eastbound Cimarron Street between Eighth Street and Interstate 25 will be in effect through Friday from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. The change is necessary for realignment of the I-25 bridge over Cimarron. Later this month motorists will no longer use the existing southbound I-25 loop ramp to exit to Cimarron. Instead, they will exit on a new, direct ramp alignment north of Cimarron about a quarter-mile south of the Bijou Street exit. The existing loop ramp has been in place for 56 years. For a visual of the changes, go to tinyurl.com/zrhqsqf. — PZ

SuperTanker launches

The grand opening of Global SuperTanker Services LLC, is planned for Thursday at Colorado Springs Airport with a live flyby by the aircraft and a drop of 19,600 gallons of water. The event will include Gov. John Hickenlooper, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and Springs Mayor John Suthers.

The airport will be the operating base for what's billed as the world's largest firefighting tanker. The company converts and operates Boeing 747-400 aircraft as long-range aerial firefighting platforms. — PZ

Military rides free in May

The city's bus system, Mountain Metropolitan Transit, is recognizing National Military Appreciation Month by giving all active military members free rides on its fixed-route buses for the entire month of May. To take advantage of the deal, active-duty members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves must present the bus driver with a current military ID or wear their full uniform. — JAS

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