Quantcast
Energy

Oil and Gas Industry Buys Colorado Fracking Election

In what may have been the most expensive and farce of an election in the history of Colorado, the oil and gas industry has likely spent $1 million to buy a fracking election in the city of Loveland, CO. When the votes were tallied last night for a two-year fracking moratorium in Loveland, “no” votes squeaked out a victory by a 10,844 to 9,942 margin, getting just 52 percent of the vote.

The anti-fracking fight continues in Colorado where 53,000 active wells are splattered across the landscape and about 3,000 new wells are drilled every year, many of those in suburban neighborhoods like Loveland. Photo credit: Circle of Blue

The industry has so-far reported spending more than $375,000 on those 10,844 votes, but massive unreported spending that exploited a loophole in the Colorado campaign finance law ruled the election. As long as the industry’s ads didn’t say “vote for” or “vote against,” they didn’t have to report their spending. That resulted in a deluge of an aerial attack of TV ads, radio ads, newspaper ads and inserts, and mailers that inundated voters in Loveland. Residents reported getting one and sometimes two mailers a day over the last three weeks, many including bucolic photos of pristine Colorado landscapes while hailing positive aspects of fracking.

Anti-fracking activists from a local group Protect Our Loveland spent about $7,500 trying to pass the moratorium. In the end, Protect Our Loveland was likely outspent by a 100 - 1 margin by the most profitable industry on the planet.

At the same time that the industry bought the election, it also fought fiercely to manipulate the election date and process. Anti-fracking activists in Loveland gathered the signatures and tried to place the vote on the ballot in November of 2013 at the same time that anti-fracking elections swept neighboring cities of Fort Collins, Boulder, Lafayette and Broomfield in Colorado’s “Frack Zone.” But, the oil and gas industry sued in court to get the election postponed and bullied the Loveland City Council into delaying the vote. A couple months later, a judge ruled against the industry and the city and forced the election to occur. An industry-friendly city council then cherry-picked a date—June 24—for the election that coincided with the hotly contested Republican Governor’s race in Colorado, thus ensuring a large turnout of very conservative voters.

The anti-fracking fight continues in Colorado where 53,000 active wells are splattered across the landscape and about 3,000 new wells are drilled every year, many of those in suburban neighborhoods like Loveland. But, one thing is clear: the oil and gas industry will do anything, say anything and spend anything to force fracking down the throats of citizens. If you’re involved in the fracking fights in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas or California, be forewarned—this industry is fighting for its life and you will have to fight for yours, too.

 

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Sam Murphy

Got Nondairy Alternative Milk?

By Sam Schipani

More and more, ecologically minded milk consumers are turning to nondairy products to minimize their carbon hoofprints. Sales of almond milk shot up by 250 percent between 2011 and 2016. Meanwhile, consumption of dairy milk has plummeted 37 percent since the 1970s, according to the USDA.

Keep reading... Show less
A burger made with a blend of beef and mushrooms. Mushroom Council

'Blended Burger' Allows a Simple Shift to More Sustainable Eating

By Richard Waite, Daniel Vennard and Gerard Pozzi

Burgers are possibly the most ubiquitous meal on Americans' dinner plates, but they're also among the most resource-intensive: Beef accounts for nearly half of the land use and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the food Americans eat.

Although there's growing interest in plant-based burgers and other alternatives, for the millions of people who still want to order beef, there's a better burger out there: a beef-mushroom blend that maintains, or even enhances, that meaty flavor with significantly less environmental impact.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Old White Truck / Flickr

The Last Straw? EU Official Hints Ban on Single-Use Plastic Across Europe

A top EU official hinted that legislation to cut plastic waste in Europe is coming soon.

Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the European Commission, made the comment after Britain's environment minister Michael Gove, a pro-Brexiter, suggested that staying in the EU would make it harder for the UK to create environmental laws such as banning plastic drinking straws.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Flare from gas well. Ken Doerr / Flickr

Court Orders Trump Administration to Enforce Obama-Era Methane Rule

A federal judge reinstated a widely supported methane waste rule that President Trump's administration has repeatedly tried to stop.

Judge William Orrick of the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled Thursday that Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) decision to suspend core provisions of the 2016 Methane and Waste Prevention Rule was "untethered to evidence."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
On Jan. 24, 2017 President Donald Trump signed a memorandum to expedite the Keystone XL permitting process. Twitter | Donald Trump

Inside the Trump Admin's Fight to Keep the Keystone XL Approval Process Secret

By Steve Horn

At a Feb. 21 hearing, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Trump administration must either fork over documents showing how the U.S. Department of State reversed an earlier decision and ultimately came to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, or else provide a substantial legal reason for continuing to withhold them. The federal government has an order to deliver the goods, one way or the other, by March 21.

Keep reading... Show less
Health

New Black Lung Epidemic Emerging in Coal Country

In a study released this month by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), federal researchers identified more than 400 cases of complicated black lung in three clinics in southwestern Virginia between 2013 and 2017—the largest cluster ever reported.

However, the actual number of cases is likely much, much higher as the government analysis relied on self-reporting. An ongoing investigation from NPR has counted nearly 2,000 cases diagnosed since 2010 across Appalachia.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
Dennis Schroeder / NREL

The Facts About Trump’s Solar Tariffs – Who Gets Hurt? Who Gets Helped?

By John Rogers

The solar-related shoe we've been expecting has finally dropped: President Trump recently announced new taxes on imported solar cells and modules. There's plenty of downside to his decision, in terms of solar progress, momentum and jobs. But will it revive U.S. manufacturing?

Keep reading... Show less
Energy

Japan Confirms Oil From the Sanchi Is Washing Up On Its Beaches

By Andy Rowell

The Japanese Coast Guard has confirmed that the oil that is being washed up on islands in the south of the country is "highly likely" to have come from the stricken Iranian tanker, the Sanchi.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!