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Fracking has allowed the U.S. to massively boost its oil and gas production, yet while the technology has arguably saved the country's economy, it has also divided the nation, between those who support the controversial drilling technique and those who oppose it.
Several towns and cities around the U.S. have voted to ban all fracking practices within their jurisdiction, and now the oil companies, angry at being denied access to buried shale reserves, have begun to file cases against these cities. This is beginning to raise the question as to whether local governments have the power to introduce laws that ban fracking.
This week, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) filed a lawsuit against two Colorado towns, Lafayette and Fort Collins, after both passed legislation to forbid the practice of fracking.
Laurie Kadrich, a city official from Fort Collins, told Bloomberg that "as a city, we have a responsibility to defend the voter-approved ordinance, so we'll be looking into the contents of the lawsuit and we'll respond appropriately."
The COGA have stated that the Colorado Supreme Court has interpreted the state law in such a way that forbids any local bans on fracking. Tisha Schuller, the president of the COGA, said:
COGA has had to take this action further demonstrates the huge disservice self-described 'fractivists' have done to our communities in promoting energy bans.
Instead of working constructively with industry and city leaders, extremists have used fear and misinformation to lure cities into passing bans which they know are illegal and will cost staff time and taxpayer money.
If there was any other way to deal with the blatant illegality of these bans, our members would certainly pursue it.
Gary Wockner, the director of Colorado Clean Water Action, told Al Jazeera:
We think they're trying to overturn democracy. The will of the voters is clear. They do not want to be fracked.
This industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to buy the election, and they were not successful. Now they're trying a last ditch effort.
Cities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York are also facing similar lawsuits.
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