Colorado Fracking Update

Opponents of hydraulic fracturing (cleverly called “fracking” by its opponents because it sounds “dirty”) tried to get measures on the Colorado ballet to severely restrict the practice, but failed to get the required number of signatures. The measures would have given more power to local governments to restrict the process and would have prohibited new oil and gas facilities within 2,500 feet of homes. The industry successfully campaigned against people signing the petitions. They probably correctly judged that the measures would be difficult to defeat if they made it onto the ballot because of previous results in several local referendums. Those opposing to fracking were given hope when Governor Hickenlooper announced, “Maybe they didn’t get enough signatures, but tens of thousands of people signed those indicatives, and want local voice—and I listen to that.”

A Denver Post editorial brings a voice of reason to the discussion. It references a series of reports by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. One conclusion of the reports is that banning fracking in the U.S. “…would set off an economic downturn the equivalent of the financial crisis, the housing bust, and the resulting Great recession combined.” The Post has been in favor of measures to move away from burning hydrocarbons. However, they warn about impacts of ending the energy renaissance created by hydraulic fracturing. My guess is that those ardently opposed to fracking and burning hydrocarbons won’t be influenced unless they win, energy generation is impeded, and the energy shortage prevents them from recharging their smart phones and turning on their computers in cold homes.

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