Quantcast

Groups Launch Ballot Initiative to Give Coloradans Local Control Over Fracking

Fracking

Colorado had a busy weekend, launching a state ballot initiative that would give residents control over whether to allow fracking in their communities and approving fracking regulations for methane.

The state's Air Quality Control Commission approved regulations jointly created by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and large oil and gas companies like Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy Inc. that are designed to fix tank and pipe leaks as a way to reduce emissions from fracking, Bloomberg reported.

“This is a model for the country,” EDF Rocky Mountain Regional director Dan Grossman said. “We’ve got this simmering battle between the oil and gas industry and neighborhoods throughout the state that are being faced with development. That degree of acrimony is pushing the industry and policy makers to look for ways to get some wins.”

A group named Local Control Colorado doesn't agree with that assessment and wants residents to determine whether fracking should be permitted where they live. The organization submitted language to the Colorado Legislative Council for a constitutional amendment to place control over fracking Colorado directly in the hands of constituents.

Activists in Colorado hold signs outside of a Colorado Oil and Gas Association hearing. Groups have launched a ballot initiative that could give residents control over fracking in their communities. Photo credit: sonya22/Flickr Creative Commons

Once the state approves the language, Local Control Colorado will need to collect 86,000 signatures by Aug. 4 to qualify for the November ballot.

“My first responsibility is to my children—to ensure they have a healthy community in which to grow up,” said Laura Fronckiewicz, a member of Our Broomfield, one of the organizations within Local Control Colorado. “Gov. Hickenlooper has failed to keep us safe from fracking. For this reason, this ballot measure is necessary to ensure that we have the right to determine whether fracking is allowed next to our homes or schools."

Gary Wockner, an environmentalist in Colorado, also opposed the regulations, saying their impact will be minimal, at best.

"These new rules will result in a partial reduction of emissions on some of the wells and facilities, while at the same time new drilling and fracking continues to run rampant across Colorado," Wockner said. "Consequently, whatever is gained by these rules will be overwhelmed by the new drilling and Colorado's air pollution and methane emissions will get worse." 

In the past 15 months, the residents of  Fort Collins, Boulder, Lafayette Longmont and Broomfield made history by passing local measures to stop fracking. They did so in the face of an estimated $1.3 million in combined spending by the oil and gas industry to defeat these initiatives, Local Control Colorado said. Hickenlooper also authorized state funds to launch two lawsuits against Longmont in response to the ban.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association also sued Fort Collins, Longmont and Lafayette to undermine votes.

Still, it was Hickenlooper who asked the energy companies and environmental groups to to write the first-of-a-kind set of controls. The state's Air Quality Control Commission approved the new regulations by an 8-to-1 count Saturday after five days of hearings.

While Noble complied, it also complained about the financial ramifications it will have on its company. A company official told Bloomberg that it would cost about $3 million per year to comply with the new rules. 

With more than 51,000 fracking wells in Colorado that leak methane, the primary component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas, that's the last thing most people in Colorado are concerned with.

"We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground," Wockner said. "Trying to cure climate change by switching from coal to gas is like trying to cure lung cancer by switching from Marlboro's to low-tar cigarettes—too little, too late."

Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

"Take the pledge today." Screenshot / StopFoodWasteDay.com

Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.

Stop Food Waste Day is an initiative of food service company Compass Group. It was launched first in the U.S, in 2017 and went global the year after, making today it's second worldwide celebration.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Berries are among the healthiest foods you can eat.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15 in Paris, France. Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images

When Paris's Notre Dame caught fire on April 15, the flames threatened more than eight centuries of culture and history. The fire evoked shock, horror and grief worldwide. While the cathedral burned, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed determination to rebuild what the French regard as a sacred site.

Read More Show Less
An artist's impression of NASA's InSight lander on Mars. NASA / JPL-CALTECH

Scientists have likely detected a so-called marsquake — an earthquake on Mars — for the first time, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Hero Images / Getty Images

Across the political aisle, a majority of American parents support teaching climate change in schools even though most teachers currently do not.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Priit Siimon / flickr / cc

By Andrea Germanos

Lawyer and visionary thinker Polly Higgins, who campaigned for ecocide to be internationally recognized as a crime on par with genocide and war crimes, died Sunday at the age of 50.

She had been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer last month and given just weeks to live.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

An E. coli outbreak linked to ground beef has spread to 10 states and infected at least 156 people, CNN reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less
The Anopheles stephensi mosquito, which carries malaria. CDC / Jim Gathany

The world's first malaria vaccine was launched in Malawi on Tuesday, NPR reported. It's an important day in health history. Not only is it the first malaria vaccine, it's the first vaccine to target any human parasite.

Read More Show Less