Colorado regulators drop Longmont oil and gas suit

DENVER — Colorado oil and gas regulators are dropping their lawsuit against the city of Longmont over its drilling regulations but reserving their right to go back to court later.

The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission’s vote on Thursday followed Gov. John Hickenlooper’s promise that the state would drop the lawsuit as part of a deal to keep proposed oil and gas drilling proposals off November’s ballot. However, the move didn’t satisfy Longmont officials, who wanted the case dismissed with prejudice, meaning it couldn’t be reintroduced later.

The Longmont Times-Call (http://bit.ly/1peoz9O) reported that the executive director of the state Department of Natural Resources and commission member Mike King said he was concerned that doing that would lead other Colorado cities to draft their own drilling regulations.

Longmont mayor pro-tem Brian Bagley, along with city council members and the city attorney, addressed the commission before it went into executive session to vote on the lawsuit.

“We’re here to say, Longmont doesn’t want to fight any more, forever,” Bagley said before the vote. The “governor wants you to dismiss this lawsuit. So dismiss it, and we can get on with our lives.”

Longmont officials plan to respond at an afternoon news conference. The city filed a lawsuit of its own countering the one filed by the oil and gas commission.

Two of the proposed ballot measures would have limited drilling, including increasing the distance between homes and rigs. They were financially backed by Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis.


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