UPDATE #2: Conservation Colorado's Pete Maysmith:
Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith released the following statement today on the failure to reach an agreement on legislation to enable local governments to have a say over heavy industrial drilling and fracking in their neighborhoods and communities.
“Coloradans concerned about the impact of drilling and fracking in their communities are indebted to Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst and Representative Sue Ryden today. Both leaders worked tirelessly over the past several weeks to reach a compromise that protects Coloradans and their communities. As Colorado’s oil and natural gas boom continues, cities and counties must have the best tools at their disposal to craft protections that ensure drilling and fracking near homes, schools and neighborhoods is protective of our public health, environment and Colorado quality of life.
Conservation Colorado had hoped all parties could find the proper balance to address the heavy industrial drilling and fracking happening in communities across Colorado. As the session ends without resolution to these important issues, Coloradans will have to consider if there are alternative forums to protect Coloradans and hold the industry accountable for their impacts on our communities."
UPDATE: FOX 31's Eli Stokols:
Without a legislative compromise, it’s all but certain that a series of ballot measures that would allow local communities to ban fracking outright will continue on a path toward the November ballot.
The measures, which are being financed by Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, go much further than the proposed legislation that was in the works, which would have merely allowed cities and counties control over setbacks (how far wells must be set back from homes and schools) and inspections.
Polis had been willing to drop his ballot measures if lawmakers had reached a deal, according to numerous sources involved in the negotiations; although Republicans, many of whom were open to a compromise, didn’t trust that that would have been the case.
Press release from Colorado House Democrats breaks the news–there will be no compromise legislation giving local governments greater regulatory control over oil and gas drilling this session. Barring the extraordinary, this likely ensures constitutional measures on this hotly controversial subject are headed to the statewide Colorado ballot this fall:
Rep. Su Ryden (D-Aurora) and Majority Leader Diecky Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) announced today that negotiations intended to harmonize state and local authority over oil and gas development have made progress but failed to produce an agreement in time to introduce a bill in the 2014 session.
Here is a joint statement by Rep. Ryden and Rep. Hullinghorst:
“Addressing Colorado citizens’ concerns about the impacts of oil and gas development on their lives and their communities is a top priority for us as policymakers. To address those concerns, we have been involved in extensive discussions involving a variety of stakeholders, incuding other legislators, the conservation community, oil and gas operators and the Hickenlooper administration.
“Those discussions focused on harmonizing local and state authority in regards to energy production. It is of critical importance to people across this state to balance local communities’ ability to act to protect the health, safety and welfare of Colorado families while also creating a consistent and predictable regulatory framework that allows for responsible energy development.
“Our conversations have been productive, but we haven’t yet struck an accord with all of the stakeholders, and we’ve run out of time in this session to pass consensus legislation.
“We want to thank all those who have put their time and energy into the conversation, and hope that all involved and other interested parties are ready to continue in a good-faith dialogue about how to meet the reasonable expectations of local communities impacted by energy development as well as the needs of operators. We hope we will continue moving toward these shared goals.”
We'll update with further developments shortly–this may not be the last word.