Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has filed suit against the Boulder County contesting a local moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.
A statement issued by Coffman’s office on Tuesday confirmed the lawsuit was filed in Boulder County District Court.
The attorney general’s office said the suit was filed to compel the Boulder County Board of County Commissioners to comply with a 2016 Supreme Court of Colorado ruling that struck down local fracking bans.
The state’s Supreme Court ruled in two separate decisions that a local fracking moratorium in Fort Collins and a fracking ban in Longmout were invalid because they were pre-empted by state law.
Boulder first enacted its local ban on hydraulic fracturing in February 2012.
Since enacting the measure, the Boulder County Commissioners have either re-imposed or extended the moratorium eight separate times.
“Because five years is more than reasonable time to complete such a project, and because Boulder County continues to operate in clear violation of Colorado law, the Attorney General today is filing suit in Boulder County District Court to compel compliance,” Coffman’s office said in a statement.
The Boulder County Commissioners said in a statement that the county is prepared to defend the moratorium and believes the “materially shorter duration” of the moratorium makes it “consistent with Colorado law.”
“It’s a sweetheart deal for the oil and gas industry, but a massive waste of Coloradans’ tax dollars for the State to sue us on industry’s behalf, and we are prepared to defend our right to safeguard the health, safety, and wellbeing of our constituents,” the Boulder County Commissioners said.
The Commissioners added that they will proceed with a previously schedule review to update the moratorium.
A public hearing for the review is scheduled for March 14 with a follow-up meeting on March 23 to decide on the possible adoption of new oil and gas regulations for unincorporated Boulder County.