It is a “condition that must be fulfilled,” they wrote.

“The Commission can no longer decide to prioritize oil and gas development over the health and safety of Coloradans,” declared Julia Olson, counsel to the youth plaintiffs and executive director of the legal nonprofit Our Children’s Trust.

“This is an enormous victory for these youth,” Olson continued. “We look forward to helping the youth of Colorado go back before the Commission on remand.”

And Martinez added, “I’m very optimistic about the potential this lawsuit has to protect my Colorado. Now more than ever, we will see people reclaiming the power.”

Colorado in recent years has emerged as the epicenter of the anti-fracking movement, with local efforts to ban the toxic drilling practice facing fierce backlash by the state government and deep-pocketed oil and gas industry.

Bruce Baizel, director of the energy program at environmental nonprofit Earthworks, which was not party to the case, said the ruling could have implications for other efforts to regulate fracking in the state. “This shifts health, safety, and welfare concerns above development-as-usual permitting,” Baizel told the Denver Post. “Now the state of Colorado, after removing communities’ power to ban fracking and drilling themselves, might have to effectively ban fracking inside cities to protect residents’ health.”

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