Trump Says Fracking Bans Should Be Left To Local Voters

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he personally supports hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, yet believes drilling should be up to local voters to decide.

“Well, I’m in favor of fracking, but voters should have a big say in it. Some areas maybe they don’t want to have fracking. And I think if the voters are voting for it, that’s up to them,” Trump told reporters Friday while at a campaign stop in Colorado.

“Fracking is something that we need. Fracking is something that’s here whether we like it or not, but if a municipality or a state wants to ban fracking, I can understand that,” the real estate mogul turned presidential nominee added.

Trump’s position may not go over well in a state like Colorado, where energy groups and others have criticized municipalities in the state for putting the legality of fracking up to a popular vote. It may also run smack dab against a recent court ruling prohibiting municipalities and local areas from outright banning or restricting natural gas development.

Two Colorado cities — Longmont and Fort Collins — claimed in May that state law doesn’t explicitly permit fracking, so a ban was not an illegal procedure. The energy industry defeated the cities proposal through the Colorado Supreme Court.

The court decided that the ban is “preempted by state law and therefore, is invalid and unenforceable.”

Environmental groups such as Food and Water Watch, The Sierra Club, Earthworks, and a series of local groups and activists supported the local ban. In fact, one group — Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development — proposed 11 ballot measures to the legislature in January to restrict or even ban fracking all together.

Free market groups have also criticized Colorado’s anti-fracking movement for, among other things, continually pushing forth efforts at restricting fracking on the local level and thereby harming private property rights.

Paul Driessen, a senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT.org), highlighted in early July two initiatives – Initiative 63 and Initiative 78 – on Colorado’s November ballot that, he said, would seriously curtail private property rights.

Initiative 63, Driessen told reporters, would grant citizens the right to a “healthy environment,” and the other initiative would allow locales to ban drilling and fracking, essentially usurping state law. Initiative 78 would prevent drilling and fracking within 2,500 feet of occupied buildings or “areas of special interest.”

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