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Challenge To Oil & Gas Rule Fails In State's Highest Court

DENVER (CBS4) - They made it to the state's highest court, but now Colorado Justices have turned down the request by a group of teenagers and environmentalists to toughen state oil and gas drilling standards.

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(credit: CBS)

The group may have lost in court, but these teens came quite a long way. All the way to the Colorado Supreme court.

"Pretty amazing you got that far," CBS4's Rick Sallinger said to Xiuhtezcatl Martinez of Boulder, the lead plaintiff in their lawsuit against the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

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CBS4's Rick Sallinger interviews Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. (credit: CBS)

"Yeah man, for a group of a bunch of kids from across Colorado, I started when I was 12, my brother was 9... we came far," he said.

He is now 18, and his little brother, another plaintiff, is now 15. They and others challenged the rules over oil and gas drilling.

The lawsuit claimed the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission should give more weight to the public health, safety and the environment when considering new drilling.

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(credit: CBS)

Marlow Baines a high school junior is part of Earth Guardians, one of the plaintiffs. She says the lawsuit accomplished a lot.

"I guess the biggest things is it inspired so many youth and so many people to stand for what they believe in."

They were up against Colorado's Oil and Gas Industry which had just won a big victory with the defeat of Proposition 112 which would have further limited drilling near homes, schools and elsewhere.

The teens won in the Colorado Court of Appeals, but the Supreme court justices turned thumbs down. Martinez was not dismayed.

"I don't think any of us are very surprised and this just confirms what believing and seeing over the past six years," he said.

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Colorado Supreme Court (credit: CBS)

Their effort is not over. They insist it will just take a new direction. That direction seemed obvious as they walked across the street from the Colorado Supreme Court to the State Capitol where legislators were gathering.

RELATED: Gov. Polis' Reaction To Monday's State Supreme Court Ruling

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