“Frackenlooper’s” New Reality

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

As the Boulder Daily Camera's John Aguilar reports:

Aversion to the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing became apparent Tuesday as residents in three cities along the Front Range — including Boulder and Lafayette — voted to put a halt to the energy extraction method within their borders…

Lafayette's measure — an all-out ban on new oil and gas drilling in the city — was prevailing 58 percent to 42 percent, while Boulder voters were overwhelmingly saying "no" to fracking within city limits. The margin in Boulder was 77 percent in favor of a five-year extension of the city's fracking moratorium versus 23 percent against.

A five-year fracking moratorium was also winning in Fort Collins, 55 percent to 45 percent, as of 11:40 p.m.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan's Kevin Duggan:

[Issue 2A] passed easily, even though the campaign supporting it was outspent 39-1 by an opposition campaign funded by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, or COGA.

The victory is a tribute to the more than 100 volunteers who took their message — that time is needed to understand the health impacts of the common oilfield practice — before it should be allowed to continue, said Kelly Giddens of Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins.

And Megan Quinn at the Broomfield Enterprise has an update on Broomfield Question 300, the only anti-"fracking" initiative on yesterday's ballot that wasn't immediately successful:

Broomfield will likely conduct a recount after a five-year ban on fracking failed by just 13 votes on Tuesday. 

In final unofficial election results, with nearly 20,733 ballots — or slightly more than 59 percent of registered voters — counted, voters rejected Broomfield Question 300, which aimed to create a moratorium on all hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Broomfield. The margin of defeat was 13 votes — 10,253 for the ban, 10,266 against.

In all four cases, these "fracking" moratoriums (and in the case of Lafayette, an outright ban) were overwhelmingly opposed by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. COGA spent upwards of a million dollars opposing these local ballot questions, orders of magnitude more than proponents, and still only barely appear to have turned back just one out of four of the initiatives.

There's no question that these votes to ban "fracking," placing these Front Range bedroom communities squarely in opposition to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, significantly complicate Hickenlooper's hopes to charm the issue out of controversy. Voters remain highly skeptical of the state's ability and/or willingness to protect them from the harmful effects of drilling in their neighborhoods. Beneath a thin veneer of affected concern, Hickenlooper's administration has proven itself indifferent, even hostile, to the concerns of local residents. After lawsuits against the first cities who assert stronger protections for themselves, other communities had the choice of knuckling under or joining the "rebellion" against the COGCC's perceived inadequacies. And yesterday, at least 3 out of 4 chose the latter.

Now it's Hickenlooper's move again. We strongly suggest a new approach.

28 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    "moratoriums"

    Uh, no. moratoria

  2. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Hickenlooper might end up harming his O&G buddies big time. I'll bet we may see a fracking ban as a constitutional amendment next year on the ballot. And with numbers like this, it could pass.

    If Hick keeps fighting the bans in place, that could be what leads to it being banned state-wide.

  3. Ross Cunniff says:

    I got a chance to see the Fort Collins moratorium support campaign first-hand, and they were very fired up and enthusiastic – congratulations to them for a well-fought campaign.  The campaign members are people who you would want supporting you, not opposing you.  Hick and other state leaders (I'm looking at you, House Majority Project) better take notice.

  4. mtboneiii says:

    Question–what are we all expected to do once fracking is outlawed?  Over 90% of the wells in Colorado are fracked.  Is that la-la land where none of us need fossil fuels anymore?  I am all for other sources of energy and I am also all for continuing to investigate fracking and find ways to make it as safe as possible, but what happens if it is banned and we stop domestic oil production?  Not to mention the economic impact. 

    • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

      In order to " investigate fracking and find ways to make it as safe as possible " energy companies would have to disclose what they are actually doing and what chemicals they are using, which, they won't.

      If you can't tell me what you're actually doing on my land, you can't tell me its safe either.  If you can't tell me its safe, then get the fuck out.

      • BlueCat says:

        Sounds reasonable.

      • mtboneiii says:

        Ok, so pass a law that requires them to disclose that information.  Fracking has been going on for decades so I guess I just don't understand the sudden freak-out, seems pretty knee-jerk and illogical to me.

        • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

          This is no knee-jerk reaction. This battle has raged for years in the outlying areas of our state. Now it is a front range issue.

        • roccoprahn says:

          mtboneiii, ever hear of "The Disclusure Act"?

          2 words republican obstruction.

          Next?

        • Ross Cunniff says:

          I'd love a law that requires them to disclose that information. I'd also like a state-funded (or federally-funded) health study on the long-term exposure risks to the chemicals they use.  And I'd like a fully-funded army of inspectors, to make sure the well-heads are fully operational and undamaged.  And requirements for methane capture.  And best-practices for waste retention (e.g. no open pits for wildlife to get into). And increased bonds for damage to surface properties, and for post-operation cleanup.  And increased setbacks for residences, schools, and floodplains.  And increased severance taxes so we can extract some reasonable benefit for the people of this state for this activity.

          And – the big one, that hGfg alludes to – we need a level playing field on damage claims between surface property rights and subsurface mineral rights.  Right now, mineral rights are considered "primary" which means, as far as I can tell, "we screwed up your land – oh, well.  We'll just take our profits and leave, thank you."

          Finally – no, "fracking" as currently understood has not been going on for decades.  The horizontal drilling techniques  are all new – from the past decade or so (they require huge amounts of computational power, which only has become widely available recently).  These techniques, combined with increased fossil fuel prices, have enabled extraction in many tens of thousands of places where it was not previously considered feasible.

        • BlueCat says:

          It's not like that hasn't been attempted. And such a law at the state level would have to get passed Hick.

          Maybe the freak out is due to bad experiences over time. These aren't all bastions of tree hugging liberalism, you know. Maybe these are people who didn't oppose it before because it took a while for their experiences with it to start causing them concern. 

    • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

      There are millions of acres of land where gas leases already exist. This is not a national defense effort…this is profit making by opportunistic people and companies. If you own minerals in a place that shouldn’t otherwise be drilled, I will tell you the same thing split estate owners have been hearing for decades.
      Too bad…you lose. Who says we all have to subsidize bad investments by mineral owners?

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      @ mtboneiii-we know that one thing that will happen is that people will be able to breathe on their homestead

    • roccoprahn says:

      What happens?

      For starters, no new cases of cancer linked directly to fracking. Another's no new cases of flammable water being lit on fire when it comes out of the faucet.

      Where've you been?

      By the way, another topic…………………….where are you on Keystone?

      This is gonna be fun.

      • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

        I think frackwhore may have not realized s(he) is talking to people who are actually paying attention, and has left the building.

        Same tired argument.  If we can't destroy your community, your health, and land, where are we ever going to get our energy !

        • mtboneiii says:

          Sorry to bother your eco-chamber.  I am simply bringing up some points that I think are good to discuss.  

          Some good points above, but still nobody has answered me as to what we all do when we don't have this energy source.  I assume that all of you don't drive cars or use plastics?  

          • Ross Cunniff says:

            I agree that we need to be concerned about "what we all do when we don't have this energy source."  Your point about plastics is particularly important.  It is a matter of when, not if, we have to stop burning fossil carbon.  And, it is very nearly criminal that we burn it rather than conserve it for other uses (plastics especially, but also other essential chemicals).  We need a much stronger push in renewables and energy storage.  Just doing the "drill baby drill!" routine is going to really hurt us all, including the proponents of that mindset.

            If it takes fracking moratoria and significant regulation to approach this conversion – count me in.

          • roccoprahn says:

            You got lazy in your trolling and failed to do your due diligence re: The Disclosure Act.

            The anti-fracking sentiment is only exacerbated when the industry aggressively fights disclosing what the fluid's made of.

            When you run the "if we don't spoil the ground, we'll have no energy" con and don't realize the industry through it's republican surrogates are refusing to let us know what our kids are drinking, you come off as either naive to the point of dumb, complicit, or both.

            Next time you post, know what you're talking about. This ban is common sense. Letting people know what's in the fluid is the way to get it ok'd……….if it's safe. Right? 

          • BlueCat says:

            Some day we won't. What's wrong with changing the focus to developing a new kind of energy economy now?

  5. Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

    Time is running out for someone to step up and primary governor Frackenlooper. Anyone who believes he will change his POV regarding “fracking” and stand up to his “Oily Boy” buddies is seriously deluded.

    These guys are like a mafia when it comes to loyalty.

  6. ClubTwitty says:

    The Time article up on the fracking votes mentions again that the Gov loves fracking so much he even drank fracking fluid.  No disclaimer, of course, that the Gov later retracted and admitted (not in these words) that he was merely a tool in a Halliburton PR stunt, that no such substance is actually depolyed in the oil and gas fields next to people's homes and water wells.  

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