Longmont, CO, voters Tuesday approved a hotly contested ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) within its jurisdiction, passing a ballot measure (Question 300) by a comfortable margin, according to reports.

Question 300 bans the use of fracking by oil and gas drillers within the city limits, along with banning fracking waste storage in the city confines. Supporters of a ban argued that fracking is environmentally risky; opponents — supported by more than $500,000 from industry — argued that the risks were exaggerated.

Opponents reiterated after Tuesday’s election results that the measure would bring lawsuits and expensive claims for “taking” mineral rights.

Last July Longmont city council approved a ban on drilling operations in residential areas, prompting push back from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration, which filed a lawsuit against the city (see Shale Daily, Sept. 24). It included a ban on fracking, groundwater monitoring rules and stream setback regulations. Wildlife protections also are included.

Activists opposing fracking organized as “Our Longmont,” conducted a petition drive to insert a fracking ban measure on Tuesday’s ballot.

Initial returns had Ballot Question 300 leading by 16,798 votes to 11,544, or by 59%, according to reports in the Denver Post.

In September, agreements carved out by Erie, CO, added to the state’s rules covering fracking and offered the possibility of a model for other state jurisdictions (see Shale Daily, Sept. 11). The state, however, maintains the exclusive right of enforcement.

Erie officials inked memoranda of understanding separately by Encana Oil & Gas Co. (USA) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., including several mutually agreed-to best management practices that were incorporated into state permitting requirements for new wells.