On Wednesday, May 16, the Boulder City Council voted unanimously to extend its infamous fracking moratorium by an additional two years. In spite of a prior conflict with state authorities last year, Boulder’s moratorium serves as a mostly ineffective legislative move that does virtually nothing to stymie fracking in Colorado.
But, golly, if those Boulderites aren’t extra proud of themselves for taking a stance.
Adding Two Years to the Moratorium
As the City Council voted to extend the Boulder fracking ban another two years, legislators were positively preening over their success. In speaking to reporters, however, Boulder Mayor Suzanne Jones confessed that the county had not received an application to drill in a decade. In fact, the city’s first ban on fracking came in 2013, fully five years after oil and gas operators had moved on to greener pastures.
Still, the decision was made to add another two years to the Boulder fracking ban as a “cautionary step.”
It’s a Statement, Just That and Nothing More
It’s worth pointing out that — at the same meeting that extended the ban — city councilors voted to enact a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and bump stocks. Taken hand-in-hand, the bans are a clear sign of Boulder’s real intent: to posit themselves as the kind of place where liberal ideas are incorporated without question.
As a means to attract new residents, the Boulder fracking ban is a solid marketing gimmick. Last year, Colorado attorney general Cynthia Coffman filed a lawsuit against Boulder County, calling its moratorium unconstitutional. Though the AG eventually dropped the suit of her own volition, Boulder liberals took the court decision as a big win and touted it as such.
The Boulder Fracking Ban Is Harmless
According to Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) spokesperson Scott Prestidge, Coffman didn’t need to pursue her case against Boulder, because prior court cases have already determined that local governments do not have the authority to regulate oil and gas production.
Those decisions can only be made in the statehouse. Both Longmont and Fort Collins have learned that lesson the hard way. In other words, should an oil and gas company decide to explore the mineral wealth under the ground in Boulder, the county’s fracking ban will have little-to-no impact on their progress.
Boulder, the City of Stylish Liberals
The city council of Boulder has made it very clear where they stand, and they’re happy to remind anyone and everyone who will listen time and time again. It’s just a shame that their many public proclamations have no legs to stand on when it matters. The city’s lack of oil and gas business isn’t a result of Boulder’s fracking ban; it’s a result of industry indifference.