FORT COLLINS - A group urging Fort Collins to impose a fracking moratorium on Monday turned in more than double the number of petition signatures needed to place the issue on the November ballot.

Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins turned in 8,052 signatures to the Fort Collins city clerk in support of the initiative to put a 5-year moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas within the city. City code requires 3,907 valid signatures for the initiative to be placed before voters.

"This represents a resounding show of support from the families of Fort Collins who want to protect their health, safety and property values," said Kelly Giddens, the group's campaign organizer, in a press statement.

The city clerk will have five business days to verify the signatures. If the count comes up short, the petitioners would have 15 days to collect more signatures,

Fracking is the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals into wells deep underground at high pressure to fracture rock formations and release oil and gas deposits. A debate has raged between industry officials who insist the process is safe and critics who say fracking could cause adverse effects on nearby water and air quality.

On Election Day in November, 60 percent of Longmont voters approved Measure 100, which banned fracking - as well as the storage and disposal of fracking waste - within the city limits. That vote prompted the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to sue the city, but the Fort Collins City Council voted 5-2 to back Longmont in the suit.

Measures calling for bans or moratoriums on the process may go before voters in Loveland, Boulder, Lafayette and Broomfield.