August 12, 2014


'All of Us Feel Absolutely Betrayed' : In last-minute compromise, Colorado Dems squelch anti-fracking ballot measures. (COLE STANGLER, 8/12/14, In These Times)

Colorado was supposed to be the epicenter of this fall's ballot box battles on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking--the controversial drilling practice that involves shooting chemically-saturated water deep into the ground to blast apart shale rock and expose oil and gas reserves.

Deep in the heart of some of the nation's richest oil and gas fields, voters were gearing up to take part in two state-wide referenda in November. The first would have quadrupled the size of Colorado's minimum 500-foot "buffer" zone between oil and gas wells and occupied buildings. Another would have established local control of energy resources, paving the way for a future series of bans and moratoria.

A lot was at stake. Activists saw a historic victory within their grasp. Oil and gas execs worried about the long-term financial impact of such wide-reaching votes; Democratic kingmakers were filled with dread at the thought of fracking dominating the election cycle, risking the loss of a critical U.S. Senate seat and governorship in the Rocky Mountain State. Now the latter two camps can rest easy, thanks to an eleventh-hour deal brokered by top Democrats and the energy industry.

On Monday, the day the ballot-qualifying signatures were due, the group leading the petition drive, Coloradans for Safe and Clean Energy, heavily funded by Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colo.), agreed to drop both measures. In exchange, Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper--an opponent of both initiatives and such a partisan of shale drilling that he once boasted of drinking fracking fluid--agreed to launch a new commission to make non-binding recommendations on the topic to the state legislature. 

History is over; all parties are pro-business.

Posted by at August 12, 2014 5:17 PM

blog comments powered by Disqus