Read

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

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

climate change, global warming, Break Free from Fossil Fuels, climate protests, global climate movement, Carbon Brief, carbon emissions, climate arrests, British Petroleum, BP, Enbridge, Flood Wall Street, People's Climate March, risking arrest, civil dis

My arrest didn’t feel like a risk, it felt like a transaction. I’ve found freedom in facing my fears and dispensing with false choices.

Nestle water grab, water privatization, Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Locks

Voters in one Oregon county last week approved a ban on commercial bottled water production, stopping a years-long effort by Swiss transnational Nestle to sell over 100 million gallons of water a year from the Columbia River Gorge.

Bernie Sanders, political revolution, money in politics, political left, generational shift, revolutionary politics, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15, young voters, Bernie supporters

Without Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the Fight for $15, the mobilization of teachers and nurses, immigrant movements, and many other struggles, there would never have been a Bernie Sanders campaign.

Activists in Ibeno, Nigeria.

Last weekend, tens of thousands of activists in 13 countries on six continents protested against climate change and the burning of fossil fuels.

wealth inequality, the 1%, the 99%, income inequality, "The Divide," Katherine Round, widening inequality, global protests, neoliberalism

Katharine Round’s new documentary, "The Divide," adds substantially to the debate around inequality as it explains in clear terms how our 35-year experiment in neoliberalism has failed spectacularly.

Bernie Sanders, political revolution, money in politics, political left, generational shift, revolutionary politics, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15, young voters, Bernie supporters

Without Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the Fight for $15, the mobilization of teachers and nurses, immigrant movements, and many other struggles, there would never have been a Bernie Sanders campaign.

Posted 4 days 14 hours ago
wealth inequality, the 1%, the 99%, income inequality, "The Divide," Katherine Round, widening inequality, global protests, neoliberalism

Katharine Round’s new documentary, "The Divide," adds substantially to the debate around inequality as it explains in clear terms how our 35-year experiment in neoliberalism has failed spectacularly.

Posted 5 days 15 hours ago
Act Out, Occupy, GMOs, spoken word, poetry, art, creative activism, the Illuminator, activist projection, Grayson Earle, GMOs, March Against Monsanto, Monsanto, Big Ag, Right to Know, genetic engineering, non-GMO, anti-GMO, prison industrial complex, Jorg

This week, we're foregoing some right brain poetry for left brain science – GMOs and the science of nature vs. the science of genetically engineering it.

Posted 6 days 21 hours ago
Bernie Sanders, George Orwell, 1984, Antonio Gramsci, Ralph Nader, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, money in politics, Physicians for a National Health Program, Green Party, Libertarian Party, mass mobilizations, mass protests

1984 America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly. It's in a moment of history that Antonio Gramsci called the “interregnum”: the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place.

Posted 6 days 21 hours ago
Activists in Ibeno, Nigeria.

Last weekend, tens of thousands of activists in 13 countries on six continents protested against climate change and the burning of fossil fuels.

Posted 4 days 15 hours ago
Nestle water grab, water privatization, Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Locks

Voters in one Oregon county last week approved a ban on commercial bottled water production, stopping a years-long effort by Swiss transnational Nestle to sell over 100 million gallons of water a year from the Columbia River Gorge.

Verizon strikes, outsourced jobs, low wage economy, telecom giants, corporate profits

Verizon’s decision to prioritize short-term profits and executive compensation over investments in advanced services that rely on its skilled workforce makes it the poster child for corporate excess.

Bernie Sanders, political revolution, money in politics, political left, generational shift, revolutionary politics, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Fight for $15, young voters, Bernie supporters

Without Occupy, Black Lives Matter, the Fight for $15, the mobilization of teachers and nurses, immigrant movements, and many other struggles, there would never have been a Bernie Sanders campaign.

Bernie Sanders, George Orwell, 1984, Antonio Gramsci, Ralph Nader, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, money in politics, Physicians for a National Health Program, Green Party, Libertarian Party, mass mobilizations, mass protests

1984 America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly. It's in a moment of history that Antonio Gramsci called the “interregnum”: the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place.

climate change, global warming, Break Free from Fossil Fuels, climate protests, global climate movement, Carbon Brief, carbon emissions, climate arrests, British Petroleum, BP, Enbridge, Flood Wall Street, People's Climate March, risking arrest, civil dis

My arrest didn’t feel like a risk, it felt like a transaction. I’ve found freedom in facing my fears and dispensing with false choices.