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

Detroit foreclosures, Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction, tax foreclosure auctions, online auction, foreclosed homes

The largest known municipal foreclosure sale to date, the Detroit home sell-off could be a modern take on Manifest Destiny – luring would-be frontiersmen and speculators from across the world to try their hand at “buying Detroit.”

corporate tax avoidance, corporate tax dodgers, corporate taxes, corporate tax havens, corporate tax deductions

The corporate world paid about half their required taxes, revealing the extent to which Americans are being deprived of revenue that should be going to education and infrastructure.

money in politics, Super PACs, political action committees, Citizens United, money is not speech, Larry Lessig, campaign finance reform

To watch American politics today is to watch money speaking – and the sums involved dwarf those in any other mature democracy.

The idea for an international bank had already been explored to some extent by people like the economist John Maynard Keynes. But the idea for the bank truly took off during the Young Conference in 1929, when the Allies were attempting to exact Germany’s reparations debts for WWI.

The Port of Los Angeles. (Green Fire Productions / Flickr)

After years of tenacious effort, workers throughout the nation's largest port – spread across parts of both Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA – may soon share one important tool their predecessors once had: a union., Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, civil forfeiture, money laundering, unequal justice, Internet freedom

Vast resources of the U.S. government are being deployed at the bidding of the entertainment industry, which saw its profits threatened by Internet pioneers like Dotcom and his Megaupload content-sharing empire.

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago
#BlackWorkersMatter, Black Lives Matter, racial justice, racial justice, economic justice, black unions, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Black Worker Initiative, Institute for Southern Studies, Black Workers for Justice

Black workers have been, for the working class as a whole, the canary in the mine. What befalls the black worker inevitably confronts the bulk of the U.S. working class.

Posted 6 days 1 hour ago

This week, from med students to female priests, fasters to the monopoly man, we've got a helluva lineup – first up, let's talk Medicare and why it shouldn't be so ageist.

Posted 5 days 1 hour ago
war machine, Paris climate summit, carbon emissions, military carbon emissions, weapons for oil, war fueling climate change, perpetual war, 1% profits

Oil and the war business are as connected to each other as they are tied to capitalism – which is why, to tackle climate change, we need to dismantle both.

Posted 4 days 36 min ago
Bank for International Settlements

While its purpose has changed and evolved over the decades, the BIS has always been a club for central bankers – one that has aided some countries more than others.

Posted 6 days 2 hours ago
Hong Kong, Umbrella Movement,

One year ago, Hong Kong's streets were shut down by pro-democracy activists who occupied them for 79 days in what became known as the "Umbrella Movement"

Barack Obama, UN General Assembly, Daesh, ISIS, ISIL, Vladimir Putin, Syria civil war, Bashar al-Assad

At the UN on Monday, a scene not unlike a heavy-weight boxing match in Vegas played out, as the rich and famous gathered ringside to watch a long anticipated slugfest between two titans that could very well have been fixed.

mountaintop coal removal, Don Blankenship, Massey Energy Co., coal mine explosions, coal mine disasters, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Alpha Natural Resources Inc., United Mine Workers of America

Prosecutors charge that Don Blankenship lied to financial regulators and conspired to violate safety regulations before April 5, 2010, when a massive blast in the Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, West Virginia killed 29 men.

Elizabeth Warren, money in politics, Robert Litan, Capital Group, distressed mortgages, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Distressed Asset Stabilization Program

A prominent Brookings fellow resigned after the Massachusetts senator accused him of failing to fully disclose industry funding tied to a study that criticized the U.S. Labor Department's plan to regulate brokerages.

ShellNo, Shell Arctic drilling, carbon emissions, oil spills, Chukchi Sea, kayaktivists

The oil giant abandoned its Arctic search for oil after failing to find enough crude, representing a big defeat for Big Oil after months of sustained protests.

Sign Up