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Fort Collins Approves Ban On Fracking

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Karen Weitkunat (credit: CBS)

Karen Weitkunat (credit: CBS)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Fort Collins has become the latest city to approve a fracking ban.

The city council approved a ban on all oil and gas operations within the city limits late Tuesday night, setting itself up for a possible lawsuit from the state.

Before the vote on Tuesday Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat told CBS4 she’s prepared to deal with a lawsuit.

“We’ve had a major public outcry from the residents of Fort Collins regarding health and safety issues that go along with hydraulic fracturing, and that’s one of the responsibilities of local government is to address citizen wants and needs and concerns,” Weitkunat said.

Gov. John Hickenlooper told CBS4’s Political Specialist Shaun Boyd last week he would sue any city or town that bans fracking in Colorado.

“That’s a taking from their own citizens,” Hickenlooper said. “Essentially what they’re saying is, ‘We ban anyone from getting those minerals out from what they bought, from what they paid for.’ It’s not fair.”

“So you’ll go around the state and sue every city and county that passes a ban?” Boyd asked Hickenlooper.

“We have to, we have no choice,” he responded. “Nothing makes me less happy then to have to be in a lawsuit with a municipality.”

In Boulder County, Lafayette is moving in the same direction. A group handed over petitions to its city council on Tuesday, asking for a moratorium on new drilling permits. They want more safety studies conducted and a public vote on whether fracking should even be allowed.

Meanwhile, in Loveland, the city council approved incentives Tuesday for oil companies to follow higher standards than state regulations require, while not imposing conditions that would cause court challenges.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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