by Kirk Woundy
Yesterday, Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights filed suit against the city in its ongoing effort to put a ban on fracking before local voters.
As explained in this week’s paper, the Initiative Title Setting Review Board last week rejected CSCCR’s proposed amendment to the city charter that would prevent “the extraction of natural gas or oil, including but not limited to, the processes commonly known as hydraulic fracturing and/or directional natural gas and oil well drilling, within the City of Colorado Springs.” The board contended the amendment violated the city’s rule against having multiple subjects addressed in a single ballot measure; CSCCR disagrees with that assessment, and even argues that the single-subject rule itself may not be legally valid.
The University of Denver Sturm College of Environmental Law Clinic will take up the cause, pro bono. That clinic is also representing a quartet of environmental groups aligned with the city of Longmont, which is being sued by the state for enacting a ban on fracking there.
“They’re very up to speed on the issue,” says CSCCR’s Dave Gardner. He adds that “the supervising attorney actually taught three classes about fracking at DU in the law school this last semester.”
With the suit filed in the 4th Judicial District, the city will be expected to file an answer. Gardner was unsure of the timeline for that; we have asked the city for more information, and will provide an update if and when we receive it.
Asked about a best-case scenario for his group’s effort, Gardner says that would involve the city simply backing down from its current stance.
“There’s still plenty of room for the city to do the right thing and not waste their resources in court and not waste everybody’s time fighting this in court.”
Here’s the group’s filed complaint: