Colo. gov. calls for cooperation between local, state officials on drilling
Written byMARK JAFFE, Denver Post/Energywire
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) is calling on critics of his oil and gas policies to join forces with the state rather than fight against it.
Hickenlooper sent correspondence outlining his request in reply to a Sept. 19 letter from 79 municipal and county officials criticizing the state's decision to sue the city of Longmont for adopting its own local drilling rules (EnergyWire, Sept. 20).
"To be clear at the outset, suing Longmont was a last -- and not a first -- resort for our administration," Hickenlooper wrote. "The decision was only made after attempts to resolve the state's concerns were unsuccessful."
Included in the Longmont ordinance was a residential ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process used to extract oil and natural gas from shale rock formations like Colorado's Niobrara Shale.
While local officials can control traffic, dust and other nuisances, the Hickenlooper administration has said the state is the only body with power to regulate drilling, and therefore he thought it necessary to take legal action against the city.
The governor said localities could work cooperatively with the state through local government designees, a role designed by an executive order from Hickenlooper earlier this year. Those leaders are meant to be a means for funneling local concerns and input to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, he said.
"We look forward to working with you in a manner that addresses local concerns while preserving the consistency of authority that benefits the entire state," Hickenlooper wrote in his letter