Colorado Dems flee from fracking ban

The green left, which wields enormous financial clout in the Democratic Party, wants to stop fracking in the United States. With San Francisco hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer in the lead with his promise of $50 million of his own money (and another 50 mill from his fiends) for candidates opposed to fracking, party bigshots naturally want to stand against this form of energy production.

Until voters speak, that is.

Colorado Democrats thought they had a nice little deal going, with a pair of anti-fracking ballot initiatives slated for November. Marita Noon of explains what happened to those plans after an election in neighboring New Mexico:

In April 2013, the Mora County Commission voted 2 to 1 and passed the first-in-the-nation county-wide ban on all oil-and-gas drilling. It was spearheaded by Commission Chairman John Olivas. Since then, two lawsuits have been filed against the little county because of the anti-drilling ordinance.

A little more than a year after Olivas’ pet project was passed, he was soundly beaten—59.8% to 34.2%. Both Olivas and opponent Geroge Trujillo acknowledged that the ban had an impact on the outcome. Trujillo campaigned on a repeal of the ordinance and has said he is open to a limited amount of drilling in the eastern edge of the county.

In Colorado, Democrat Congressman Jared Polis has worked hard to collect thousands of signatures and spent millions of his own fortune to get two anti-oil-and-gas initiatives on November’s ballot.

Polis’ proposed initiative 89 would have given local governments control over environmental regulations under an “environmental bill of rights.” Polis also backed ballot measure 88 that would have limited where hydraulic fracturing could be conducted.

Oops! Polis and his superiors suddenly reconsidered:

The presence of 88 and 89 on the ballot sparked two opposing measures: 121 and 137.  121 would have blocked any oil-or-gas revenue from any local government that limits or bans that industry—an idea also proposed, but not passed, in the New Mexico legislature. 137 would have required proponents of initiatives to submit fiscal impact estimates.

On Monday, August 4, Polis and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper held a news conference where they pushed for a compromise to avoid a “messy ballot fight.” Instead, they are proposing an18-member task force to issue recommendations to the Colorado Legislature next year on how to minimize conflicts between residents and the energy industry. Later in the day, an agreement was reached; and both sides pulled the opposing measures.

Too bad. Fracking is an important public policy issue, and voters deserve the right to choose on the subject. New York State has a fracking ban, and is watching jobs and prosperity multiply in Pennsylvania, as fracking is expanding there. Upstate New York is a basket case, economically, and could use the jobs. I only wish New York would have a “messy ballot fight” on the subject.

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