State Legislature Fails To Resolve Local Control Fight
The fight over granting communities more control over oil and gas operations and hydraulic fracturing is likely headed to the election ballot in November.
Update 4:15 pm: A spokesman for Gov. John Hickenlooper said his office is continuing to work toward establishing an agreement with legislators. With the session set to end May 7, Hickenlooper's office said a special session is an option if there's an agreement in place.
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Colorado lawmakers had hoped to introduce a proposal allowing cities to incorporate more local rules for things like setback distances, but ran out of time on May 5 — the final day bills could be introduced before the 2014 legislative session ends.
“Our conversations have been productive, but we haven’t yet struck an accord with all of the stakeholders, and we’ve run out of time in this session to pass consensus legislation,” said Democratic Rep. Su Ryden and Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst in a joint statement.
Right now about one dozen ballot proposals on local control of oil and gas operations are currently being floated and are at various stages of approval with the Colorado Secretary of State.
Coloradans for Local Control — a group with ties to Democratic Congressman Jared Polis — is behind several of the proposed measures. Spokesman Rick Ridder said the eventual goal is to bring the ballot issues down to one on the November ballot.
"We hope to have a broad coalition with other supporters of local control with us on any initiatives that we go forward with."
“We hope that as citizens become aware of what’s happened in communities up and down the Front Range, they will see fit to provide the protections necessary to protect our land, our soils, our air and our water,” he said. “We hope to have a broad coalition with other supporters of local control with us on any initiatives that we go forward with."
Local Control Colorado and the Colorado Community Rights Network are also working on ballot proposals.
So far five communities have banned or placed moratoriums on fracking. Longmont, Fort Collins and Lafayette have seen lawsuits from industry groups or the state of Colorado.