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CU Report Estimates Economic Impact Of Statewide Fracking Ban

Jim Hill
A drilling rig nestled in the greenspace between developments in Frederick, Colo., Aug. 2013.

As an increasing number of Front Range communities place restrictions on hydraulic fracturing, a new report from the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business examines the possible economic impacts of a statewide ban on the practice.

The analysis estimates that over the first five years, there would be a loss of 68,000 jobs — or a 1.9 percent decrease — and an average $8 billion lower gross domestic product, resulting in a 2.3 percent drop.

Over 25 years, the analysis found the statewide ban would cut 93,000 jobs, trimming $12 billion from gross domestic product.

The study was commissioned by a consortium of groups including the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. When CU researchers began their analysis in late 2013, Research Associate Brian Lewandowski says there was talk of a statewide fracking ban.

"The analysis estimates that over the first five years, there would be a loss of 68,000 jobs."

“So the thought last November or December was that we were likely to see a statewide ballot initiative in 2014. So we decided to model out what the economic implications would be of a statewide fracking ban, not knowing what the language would shape up to be,” Lewandowski said.

Critics of fracking say the report fails to examine the larger societal issues of using fuels where the environment and health are concerned.

A statewide fracking ban seems less likely now that ballot issues aimed at giving communities more local control are being floated by local groups.

“What we would like to do as a policy group is to study these other scenarios,” said Lewandowski, who expects to research the economic impacts of those proposals in the coming months.

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