Fracking loses at the ballot box

Fracking loses at the ballot box

It was quite an election night, with bizarre and interesting battles across the country. What's more, from a tar sands referendum on the Portland, ME (narrowly defeated) to anti-coal terminal candidates in Whatcom County, Bellingham (thus far ahead) the planet was on the ballot as well.

As it so often does, the anti-fracking movement was at the crux of the choice between the planet and pollution. Fracking bans were on the ballot in four Colorado towns: Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins, and Lafayette. In the 3 of the 4 cases, the fracking bans prevailed, with a fourth too close to call — just 13 votes separate the clean-energy stance of fracking foes and the more-pollution stance of the frackers as of press-time!

Apparently fearing the worst (or best), Pro-frack Gov. Hickenlooper has threatened to sue towns that ban fracking. This can be seen as a writing on the wall since if he thought Coloradans wanted shattered bedrock and flammable drinking water, he wouldn't have to resort to such bullying tactics. No matter, it is clear that when people get the facts on this dangerous drilling method and are given the chance to weigh in, they stand for clean water and land, and stand up to bullying. This was true even despite the fact that pro-fracking corporations had all the money — $900,000 in all. Here's the breakdown for two of the towns:

Fracking opponents have been heavily outspent in the Lafayette campaign. Pro-fracking group Lafayette Campaign for Energy Choice formed in response to the ballot measure and collected $67,074 last month from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association to fight the issue. By contrast, anti-fracking group, East Boulder County United took in $1,762 during the same period.

Broomfield's anti-fracking advocates were also badly outspent. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association contributed more than $171,000 to two pro-fracking groups in Broomfield last month, while the group backing the measure — Our Broomfield — accumulated $4,952 in contributions from May to Oct. 10.

These key votes mean Longmont, Colorado no longer stands alone as the only (though still first!) CO town to ban fracking. Environmental Action members rallied to support Longmont last year, helping to win narrow passage of that now-replicated ban, which has been tied up in the courts. Together, we're spreading the anti-fracking movement and doing the one thing politicians have to respect: winning elections.