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A Ban On Fracking In Fort Collins Could Mean Legal Trouble

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) - The Fort Collins City Council was scheduled to meet right Tuesday evening and was expected to ban all oil and gas operations within the city limits. By doing that, it could set itself up for a lawsuit from the state.

Fort Collins Mayor Karen Weitkunat told CBS4's Ty Brennan the issue is a difficult line to strike between what the citizens want and what the state wants.

A large crowd was expected at the meeting to testify before the council votes. There were plenty of anti-fracking demonstrators outside before the meeting.

Gov. John Hickenlooper sat down with CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd last week and said 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."

"It's pretty important to the community and it needs to be addressed," Weitkunat said.

Weitkunat says however the vote ends up, it is their duty to do what is in the best interest of their citizens, despite a potential 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.

The public testimony was estimated to take about two hours.

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