With backdrop of a defiant city council in Fort Collins, CO, the governor’s statewide task force will sit down for the first time Thursday in Denver to begin to develop bipartisan legislative proposals to foster cooperation between local governments and the oil and gas industry.

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s executive order created the 19-member eclectic panel earlier this summer (see Shale Daily, Sept. 9). He is expected to attend for part of the all-day session scheduled for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife agency’s Hunter Education Building. Public comments are to be heard during the final two hours of the all-day meeting. The Department of Natural Resources has created a websiteand plans online gavel-to-gavel coverage of the sessions scheduled through Feb. 27.

Co-chairs La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt and XTO Energy Inc. President Randy Cleveland are to lead the task force. Those expected to talk to the task force this week are Matt Lepore, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission; Paula Swenson, Gunnison County commissioner; and Geoff Wilson, general counsel for the Colorado Municipal League.

Subsequent meetings are set for Oct. 9-10, Durango; Nov. 5-6, Rifle; Dec. 10, Denver; Jan. 15-16, Greeley; Feb. 2-3, Denver; and Feb. 24, Denver.

Separately, the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) on Tuesday was lamenting the Fort Collins City Council’s vote to appeal another recent district court ruling that rejected the city’s attempt to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

COGA President Tisha Schuller called it “unfortunate” for Fort Collins citizens, noting that in August Colorado District Court Judge Gregory Lammons ruled against the city’s five-year ban on fracking (see Shale Daily, Aug. 8). There were similar rulings by another district judge in Boulder County also last month (see Shale Daily, Aug. 28).

“Judge Lammon’s decision to invalidate the ban was unequivocal in saying that bans are unlawful and left little in the way of grounds for an appeal,” Schuller said. She noted that the judge’s ruling also confirmed a district court ruling last year invalidating a ban on fracking that passed in Lafayette, CO (see Shale Daily, Aug. 28, 2013).