The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Democrat Jared Polis Pulls Anti-Fracking Initiatives at Last Minute from Colorado Ballot
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who was prepared to turn in more than 200,000 signatures today in support of two ballot measures that sought to provide far greater local control of Colorado's fracking industry, instead announced at a press conference Monday that he pulled the controversial initiatives from Colorado's November ballot.
The initiatives would have forced fracking wells to be 2,000 feet from schools, hospitals and other community facilities, and established an environmental bill of rights allowing local governments precedence when laws conflict with the state. In exchange for pulling the controversial ballot measures, a commission will be set up to analyze whatever problems might exist.
"We are disappointed that Colorado’s environmental rights ballot initiative that would have allowed local governments to protect their citizens from the potential harms of oil and gas drilling has been withdrawn," said Earthworks Oil & Gas Accountability Project director Bruce Baizel.
"Colorado’s oil and gas oversight favors the oil and gas industry’s interests before the public interest. That’s why hundreds of thousands of Coloradoans backed ballot initiatives to fundamentally change oil and gas regulation for the better this November."
The fracking commission announced today by Governor Hickenlooper and Representative Polis provides a possibility that Colorado’s community and environment may yet be protected from the environmental and health threats associated with oil and gas development. Impacted communities must have a real seat at the table, and must be allowed to determine that in some cases no fracking may be the right choice."
According to Colorado's KDVR News, Polis negotiated with Hickenlooper and "reached an agreement over the weekend to stand down on the initiatives and allow a broader stakeholder process to take place."
"This hollow compromise may remove fracking from the state ballot this November, but it doesn't solve any problems," said Sam Schabacker, western region director with Food & Water Watch. "It creates an unelected task force and guarantees that concern among voters about fracking will continue to escalate, and that fracking will continue to be a significant statewide issue our officials must address."
According to The Hill, the measures created a rift among Colorado Democrats in recent months and threatened to hurt Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. John Hickenlooper in their reelection bids.
You Might Also Like
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
In 2018, there were about 5 million electric cars on the road globally. It sounds like a large number, but with well over a billion cars worldwide, electric vehicles are still only a small percentage.
By Byron Reeves, Nilam Ram and Thomas N. Robinson
There's a lot of talk about digital media. Increasing screen time has created worries about media's impacts on democracy, addiction, depression, relationships, learning, health, privacy and much more. The effects are frequently assumed to be huge, even apocalyptic.
By Raphael Tsavkko Garcia
Rarely has something so precious fallen into such unsafe hands. Since Jair Bolsonaro took the Brazilian presidency in 2019, the Amazon, which makes up 10 percent of our planet's biodiversity and absorbs an estimated 5 percent of global carbon emissions, has been hit with a record number of fires and unprecedented deforestation.
Microsoft announced ambitious new plans to become carbon negative by 2030 and then go one step further and remove by 2050 all the carbon it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975, according to a company press release.