But despite dropping eight initiatives in total, a conference call hosted by the coalition of activists pushing these initiatives shows that their agenda hasn’t changed at all. They still want to ban oil and gas development across Colorado and see their remaining three ballot measures as the way forward.
Kicking off the conference call was Karen Dyke, spokesperson for Coloradans Against Fracking (CAF), who recounted a series of recent anti-energy demonstrations organized by the group before she told participants:
“None of these actions, as important as they are, is enough to halt this toxic industry.” (4:49 -4:58)
From there, Dyke turned the call over to Tricia Olson, executive director of Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED), who discussed the so-called local control initiative the group is backing.
And in a sign that CREED is interested in more than just a fight for local control, Olson told activists that the wording of this newest measure is akin to a “full-fledged” fracking ban:
“This version however has one significant difference, what we would call a floor, not a ceiling language. To lift its points, it authorizes local governments to pass regulations — prohibit, limit or impose moratoriums on oil and gas development. Of course the word prohibit means ban. This allows for a broad range of local government options within their jurisdictions from local actions to a full-fledged ban.” (23:14-23:44)
One of the initiatives CREED is pushing is another veiled measure to ban fracking by dramatically increasing oil and gas setback requirements. Not only has a recent economic analysis found that this proposal could cost the state up to $11 billion in lost GDP a year and 62,000 jobs, but as CREED knows, it would effectively impose a fracking ban across large areas of Colorado’s energy producing regions, many of which now welcome energy development.
While CREED shifts its focus to ballot initiatives that may sound more appealing to voters than an outright ban, the fact remains that they have the backing of national activist organizations like Food &Water Watch, 350.org and the Sierra Club. These organizations are demanding national and statewide fracking bans, including here in Colorado. In fact, according to The Colorado Statesman, F&WW is one of the “major players behind the anti-fracking movement” and “played a key role in supporting initiatives to ban or delay fracking in local communities” at the ballot box in November 2013.
Expect more of the same as the campaign progresses – local-sounding talking points that mask a fringe national agenda to completely shut down oil and gas development across Colorado and the rest of the country.