Voters Reject Loveland Fracking Moratorium
Tuesday night, Loveland voters said “no” to a two-year timeout on hydraulic fracturing.
According to unofficial results, 48 percent supported the measure while 52 percent opposed it. More than 20,800 votes were cast in the special election out of 45,000 ballots mailed out to voters. Slightly more than 2,500 ballots were returned to the City Clerk’s Office as undeliverable.
The proposed moratorium sparked intense debate and interest on both sides of the issue. On June 24 a steady stream of Loveland voters could be seen entering the City Clerk’s office returning ballots.
For Brooke Huber, the issue came down to employment and energy security. She said she voted “no” on Issue 1.
“My dad works in the oil field so we know a lot about it, and I don’t want people to be without jobs,” she said. “I think that oil and drilling should be in America.”
Meantime, longtime Loveland resident Kimber Skidmore said oil company greed and environmental concerns motivated him to vote “yes.”
“They care about the bottom line, which is profit, and it just irritates me to no end they’ll go to any length for that profit including the environment and stepping on anybody they have to,” he said.
The Loveland special election has been watched closely by both sides of the oil and gas debate as a much larger statewide debate unfolds over hydraulic fracturing. So far, supporters of two statewide ballot measures proposing limits or bans to the oil and gas extraction process have been cleared to gather signatures.
“I am delighted the people of Loveland have rejected the fear and misinformation sown throughout this campaign and have instead said yes to responsible energy development in their community,” said Tisha Schuller, President and CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association in a press release. “This is a good example of what happens when voters have access to the facts about hydraulic fracturing and energy development.”
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Loveland Energy Action Project (LEAP) to fight Issue 1. Protect Our Loveland, which placed the measure on the ballot, received just a fraction of that amount in financial contributions.
Protect Our Loveland could not be reached for comment early Wednesday morning.
Gov. Hickenlooper had hoped to initiate a special legislative session to pass a bill that would eliminate the need for local control measures. But the Colorado Independent reports that so far, proposed legislation has failed to win full support from negotiating parties.
Loveland is the first Front Range community to reject a proposed timeout on hydraulic fracturing. Last fall, Fort Collins, Boulder, Broomfield and Lafayette voters all approved restrictions on fracking. Longmont voters approved a ban in 2012.