November 12, 2013

Colorado Fracking Fight Looms

Source: Dow Jones News Service, November 7, 2013
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Energy companies in Colorado are girding for a statewide battle over fracking next year after voters in three communities passed bans on hydraulic fracturing and a fourth town voted to continue to allow the practice by just a handful of votes.

Despite heavy spending by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, Boulder and Fort Collins passed five-year moratoriums Tuesday, and voters in Lafayette strongly favored an outright ban. All three are in north-central Colorado near the Niobrara Shale oil field, where production has been rising rapidly.

In nearby Broomfield, which has experienced more drilling than the other towns, voters defeated a moratorium by 13 votes out of 20,519. The tally remains unofficial and, if certified, would trigger a recount.

The vote in Broomfield, a suburban community north of Denver, was watched most closely because its residents have the most experience with the pros and cons of drilling, and because its politics mirror Colorado’s.

The antifracking effort, spearheaded by Frack Free Colorado, was supported by Washington, D.C., nonprofits Clean Water Action and Food & Water Watch. Patagonia Inc. also gave a grant to Frack Free Colorado. Petitions to get the issue on ballots were gathered by local organizers, some of them with affiliations to these environmental groups.…