Vote Victory: Fracking Banned In Three Colorado Cities!

Search form

Vote Victory: Fracking Banned In Three Colorado Cities!

Vote Victory: Fracking Banned In Three Colorado Cities!
Thu, 11/7/2013 - by Keith Coffman
This article originally appeared on Reuters

Three Colorado cities have rejected oil and gas production work that relies on so-called fracking, unofficial election returns showed on Wednesday in a setback for an industry that won other battles this year in Democratic strongholds like California.

Boulder, Lafayette and Fort Collins passed measures with solid margins to suspend or ban the technique formally known as hydraulic fracturing. But a fourth community, Broomfield, about 12 miles east of Boulder, narrowly rejected a fracking moratorium.

In Fort Collins, near the growing Niobrara field, 56 percent of voters approved a five-year ban on fracking, despite a resolution its city council passed urging voters to reject it.

A dozen states including California have clear rules for fracking, but the practice is banned in New York and some think Colorado could be a battleground in the U.S. energy boom.

There is "possibility of a state-wide ban finding its way onto the 2014 Colorado ballot," said Paul Enockson, a lawyer with BakerHostetler in Denver who has represented oil firms.

Hydraulic fracturing, done after horizontal drilling, pumps pressurized water, sand and chemicals underground to crack shale rock to release oil or gas.

Environmental groups say fracking can contaminate water supplies, but the industry says it is safe and that boosting gas output will create jobs and help states replace dirty coal-burning power plants with ones fueled by cleaner gas.

"This election represents round one with many more rounds to come," said Tisha Schuller, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), an industry group that opposed the measures.

"Boulder and Lafayette were nothing more than symbolic votes. Lafayette's last new well permit was in the early 1990's and Boulder's last oil and gas well was plugged in 1999," she said.

Court Battles

Colorado's daily output of crude oil has surged to around 182,000 barrels a day, but is still a scant 2.4 percent of total U.S. production, according to the Energy Information Agency.

Industry experts believe much of the best oil and gas deposits could be on federal tracts of land in the western part of the state that are not currently in production.

The municipal bans may clash with fracking standards the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission introduced this year that require wells to be located away from houses and established rules for noise, dust and chemicals.

The state's oil and gas commission grants more than 1,000 annual permits for hydrocarbon wells.

"The decision of whether or not hydraulic fracturing occurs in these Colorado communities may ultimately lie with the courts, where the city of Longmont is already being sued by COGA and the state of Colorado over its fracking ban, but at least for now, the people have spoken," wrote Gretchen Goldman, analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists' Center for Science and Democracy.

Though environmental groups declared victory in a swing state, the gas industry has made inroads this year.

Prior to the votes in Colorado, Marty Durbin, head of America's Natural Gas Alliance, said more and more states were becoming convinced of the safety of fracking.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California, the world's 9th largest economy, signed a law in September that specifically allows it.

Originally published by Reuters

Article Tabs

Plains All American, Surfrider Foundation, oil spill, Santa Barbara,

New details have emerged about Plains All American's long history of generating similar disasters.

The U.S. ranks among the most unequal countries, surpassed only by Turkey, Mexico and Chile.

$15 minimum wage, low wage workers, fast-food worker strikes, Fight for 15, minimum wage hikes

Some of the biggest cities in America are now defying decades of economic orthodoxy and challenging social norms that regarded low-wage jobs as unavoidable and acceptable.

Joseph Stiglitz, Bernie Sanders, new populism, democratic populism, wealth inequality, income inequality, Next System Project

It's time to begin the careful work of knitting together broad, pluralistic conceptions of what a transformed system might look like.

Trans-Pacific Partnership, TPP, corporate trade deals, whistleblowers, fast track, Trade Promotion Authority

Letter signed by more than 250 firms demands greater transparency and says "dangerously vague" language would criminalize whistleblowers.

Britain’s election shows it's no longer a united kingdom, that Scottish independence is increasingly likely – and that the new Conservative government will only further fracture an already deeply unequal society.

Posted 4 days 18 hours ago
fracking ban, Denton fracking, anti-fracking legislation, Greg Abbott

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law that prohibits cities and towns from banning an oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracking, giving the state sole authority over oil and gas regulation.

Posted 3 days 18 hours ago

The Balkan country has been thrown into political crisis with the government implicated in a massive wire-tapping scandal and rigged elections, the opposition leader accused of plotting a coup, and 18 shot dead last week in a bloody gun battle.

Posted 4 days 18 hours ago

The tide of public resistance against a proposed free trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union is rising in Germany, as opponents say the plan would harm democracy and rule of law.

Posted 3 days 18 hours ago

The $5.3 trillion subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.

Posted 2 days 17 hours ago
worker-owned cooperatives, worker-owned businesses

New York City is home to the country’s largest worker-owned co-op, Co-operative Home Care Associates, which employs some 2,300 workers, mainly immigrant and minority women in the South Bronx.

The Balkan country has been thrown into political crisis with the government implicated in a massive wire-tapping scandal and rigged elections, the opposition leader accused of plotting a coup, and 18 shot dead last week in a bloody gun battle.

surveillance programs, surveillance art, Bearing Witness: Surveillance in the Drone Age, NSA, Edward Snowden

A new exhibition opening Thursday in San Francisco depicts the depth and breadth of spying, listening, recording and gathering data.

kayaktivists, sHellNo.org, Shell drilling rig

Hundreds of protesters assembled early Monday to prevent workers from reaching the rig that the company plans to bring to Alaska's Chukchi Sea this summer.

Sign Up