Fracking foes gather 15,000 names toward restriction measures on ballot
The issue committee that wants to put something on this fall’s ballot dealing with hydraulic fracturing reported Friday that they’re collecting signatures in droves.
The group, Coloradans for Safe and Clean Energy, has collected more than 15,000 signatures in the first week of trying. It needs at least 86,105 signatures of registered voters by Aug. 4 to qualify for the ballot.
“The oil and gas industry is running scared after nearly suffering a devastating loss on Tuesday,” said Nick Passanante, campaign director of the group. “We are proud of the broad-based, bipartisan coalition of support that has come together.”
Passanante was referring to a vote in Loveland during the primary election Tuesday when city voters rejected a moratorium on fracking, the practice of pumping water and chemicals into the ground to loosen formations to help release natural gas deposits.
Loveland was the sixth city in Colorado to vote on such moratoriums, but the first to reject it.
Still, Passanante said the vote boded well for his effort because a large number of Republicans voted in favor of the temporary ban.
Although the group has more than a dozen proposals dealing with fracking, it is only collecting signatures for two, Initiatives 85 and 88.
The first measure would establish a 1,500-foot setback rule from occupied structures, which is three times the state requirement.
The second proposal would create an “Environmental Bill of Rights” for local governments, giving them the authority to enact laws on oil and gas drilling that are stricter than the state’s.
Passanante said there have been 495 spills related to fracking since last year, and two small earthquakes near Greeley, where much of the drilling is taking place.
On a related matter, Gov. John Hickenlooper still is no closer to getting a broad coalition of people to support a proposed compromise to the whole issue.
Hickenlooper’s so-called compromise measure would allow local governments to enact laws dealing with noise and setback rules, while leaving down-hole issues to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
While several local government officials around the state have expressed support for the compromise, few state lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle have done so.