A statewide effort to give Colorado communities “local control” over fracking regulations is in fact an effort to ban fracking throughout the state, according to the recording of a national conference call among anti-fracking groups.
The audio was obtained by Complete Colorado, which posted excerpts on its website. Kaye Fissinger, representing the group Local Control Colorado, which is backing a ballot initiative to allow communities to curtail or restrict fracking, admitted that the goal was to ban the practice.
“Those of us who are working to ban fracking will be excited to hear that under the name of Local Control Colorado, a coalition of grassroots groups, has moved forward to create a statewide ballot measure,” she says.
She said Colorado is in the “eye of the storm” when it comes to the fracking debate, with an industry-friendly Democratic governor on one side and a Democratic congressman opposed to the practice on the other.
“[W]e hope all of the listeners tonight will join us in many ways to help secure passage Local Control Colorado’s constitutional amendment,” Fissinger said. “A victory this November is a victory for all of America.”
“It will send a message throughout the nation that we can and we will take control of our well-being when the state and federal government refuse to do so,” she added.
Local Control Colorado has denied that the ballot initiative is about banning fracking, with a representative telling the Denver Post that such assertions are scare tactics of the oil and gas industry.
“This isn’t about banning fracking, it is about giving communities the ability to put some controls on development — community by community,” spokeswoman Laura Fronckiewicz told the paper.
Organizers of last week’s conference call said there were 170 people on the line, which culminated in a train-wreck attempt at the sort of call-and-repeat chanting often encountered at street protests. Callers east of the Mississippi were to chant “Ban Fracking Now!” while those west of the Mississippi were to respond, “Si, se puede.”
The result was 170 people yelling unintelligibly at once.
Opponents of the ballot measure say a fracking ban will also be a train wreck, for the state’s economy. Oil and gas provide more than 100,000 jobs in Colorado and contributed $29 billion to the state economy in 2012, according to the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business’ Research Division.
The school reported a fracking ban could result in 93,000 fewer jobs between 2015 and 2040, with a corresponding negative impact on the economy as high as $985 million by 2040.
Jon Haubert, the spokesman for Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development, which opposes the ballot initiative, said in a press release in February that it “could create environmental and economic chaos from one corner of Colorado to the other.”
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