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Colorado Oil & Gas Ass'n v. City of Fort Collins

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20183
Nos. 2013CV31385, (Colo. Dist. Ct., 08/07/2014)

A Colorado court held that the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Act preempts a city's five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing. The city is a "home-rule" city, meaning it has “the full right of self-government” on local and municipal matters. Nevertheless, a local ordinance that infringes on a matter of mixed state and local concern, or a matter of statewide concern, may be preempted in three possible ways: express preemption; implied preemption; and operational conflict. Although the Oil and Gas Conservation Act does not expressly preempt all local regulation of drilling, the ban substantially impedes the state’s significant interest in oil and gas development and production. As such, the ban is impliedly preempted. In addition, the ban prohibits a technique to chemically treat wells that the Act expressly allows. As such, the ban is also preempted by operational conflict.