Elections

Colorado Passes Measure Making Fracking Bans Almost Impossible

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Colorado voters approved an amendment Tuesday aimed at making it more difficult for environmentalists to ban fracking in the state.

The measure requires a proposed amendment to garner voter signatures in all 35 state Senate districts before it can be passed into law; more than 50 percent of voters must approve future amendments.

Activists believe Amendment 71 unfairly targets anti-fracking activists. They argue it would make it harder for them to push environmental ballot measures.

Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, for instance, claimed the amendment is a “power grab by the political and corporate elites … almost entirely funded by the oil and gas industry.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper, meanwhile, supported Amendment 71, telling reporters it “ensure[s] that our constitution is not held captive by the whims of the day.”

The oil production in the Centennial State tipped dramatically upward from 2004 to 2014, as the state’s natural gas output leaped by 51 percent, according to research compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Amendment 71 was a response to two anti-fracking amendments proposed earlier this year.

Ballot initiatives 75 and 78 would have added language to Colorado’s state Constitution increasing local control on the degree with which natural gas producers can engage in fracking in areas.

The anti-fracking initiatives sprang up in May when the state’s supreme court decided to allow state law to supersede that of local ordinances on hydraulic fracturing. The court’s ruling all but ended the ability for a city in the state to declare moratoriums on natural gas development.

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