Colorado Gov. Says He Doesn’t Expect Anti-Fracking Initiatives to Make the Ballot
With the Colorado Secretary of State’s office foreshadowing that an announcement on a pair of anti-fracking ballot measures will likely come next week, the state’s Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper told Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s Rocky Mountain Energy Summit attendees that he thinks the measures will not meet the necessary number of signatures to appear on the ballot. From Hickenlooper’s remarks:
“My full assumption is that neither of those two initiatives are going to get, going to have the signatures. I don’t think either one is going to be on the ballot and I think that’s a reflection of all the efforts put in by both sides to sit and listen to each other and say, alright, how can we respect private property, how can we acknowledge that we are going to move toward a cleaner environment but at the same time realize that these are jobs and this is inexpensive energy and it helps household budgets, that there has got to be a balance in our conclusions and if we do that well enough then we avoid these gigantic battles at the ballot and we move on with the situation that New York state is, or perhaps Denton, well Denton Texas is or perhaps New Mexico. And I think that’s the lesson learned in Colorado is that you roll up your sleeves and you listen hard enough to the other side and say where is the common ground we all accept that we want a clean environment so how do we get there and still make sure we have inexpensive energy”
The governor is not the first to predict that the anti-energy measures will ultimately fail to make the ballot. Shortly after activist groups turned in their petition signatures for review, political specialist Shaun Boyd with CBS 4 in Denver reported on the likelihood that activists have fallen short in collecting the necessary number of signatures. As Shaun Boyd reports for CBS 4:
“This story gets more bizarre by the day. The measures have been getting national attention as though they’ve already made the ballot, the New York Times calling them the most serious effort yet to stop fracking. But we have obtained reports filed by the circulators for these measures and based on the number of signatures that they say they have, the chance of these measures making the ballot, is remote.” (Emphasis added)
Observers first noticed something was wrong after Colorado Secretary of State Spokeswoman Lynn Bartels tweeted out a photo observing that activists had “turned in lots of boxes with very few petitions in them.” When asked by the media about the photo that the Greeley Tribune described as “about 50 boxes,” Bartels called it “unusual.” Also from CBS 4:
“It is unusual because other measures that were turned in, the petitions were scanned in by our staff and put back in their original boxes to be sent down to Pueblo to the state agency to be checked and they maybe had five boxes left over. This was boxes and boxes and boxes. That may not mean anything but it may mean something,” Bartels said.
Hickenlooper has long-been an advocate for Colorado’s energy producers, previously calling ballot measures targeting oil and natural gas development “radical” and “extreme” because they would “drive oil and gas out of Colorado.” More recently, Hickenlooper took aim at the “Keep-It-In-The Ground” movement in his comments at a Colorado Petroleum Council luncheon. As the Denver Business Journal reported:
“We won’t transform the energy supplies of our nation overnight; there’s been rapid growth in solar and wind, but we’re a long way from saying we can walk away from hydrocarbons and not do significant damage to our economy,” Hickenlooper said.
“The number of people in Colorado who want to ban hydrocarbons is probably a small minority,” he said.
Hickenlooper’s latest comments put a national spotlight on his support for fracking and are sure to come as more bad news for national activist groups that have been struggling to build momentum for their campaign to ban-fracking in Colorado and across the nation.