Deal elusive on fracking ballot measure

Though they’re still talking, officials in Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office report that they’re not any closer to working out a deal for a compromise measure on this year’s ballot dealing with hydraulic fracturing.

Meanwhile, anti-fracking groups that have more than two dozen possible ballot measures for this fall have started their campaign to get at least one of them passed.

For months now, the governor has been trying to bring the two sides together to come up with a compromise ballot measure, one that likely would stop short of banning the practice of fracking, focusing instead on giving local communities more control over such things as well setback rules and noise abatement.

If an agreement can be reached, and there’s no shortage of skeptics who believe that the two sides are so far apart that won’t ever happen, the governor could call a special session of the Colorado Legislature to place it on the November ballot.

“The governor has been meeting with various stakeholders and energy representatives,” said Hickenlooper’s press secretary, Eric Brown. “These talks started well before the end of the session and have continued since the session ended. The odds of that haven’t changed since he told capitol press last week that it was 50-50.”

At the same time that anti-frackers have launched a new advertising campaign to win the hearts and minds of Front Range voters, one of those groups’ main backers, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., is being attacked directly for his support of the anti-fracking movement.

Polis, the first openly gay member of Congress, was lampooned in a Denver Post advertisement last week by the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans. In it, the group says “King Polis has 68 million reasons not to care about jobs in Colorado,” referring to his estimated wealth.

That group and others battling any anti-fracking measure say that if the state were to ban the practice, Colorado would lose thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue, devastating its economy.

To date, no measure has officially made the ballot, but signatures to do so aren’t required to be submitted to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office until Aug. 4.


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