Colorado fracking measures reach signature thresholds

Colorado environmentalists said they have gathered enough signatures to get initiatives on the November ballot that would restrict hydraulic fracturing.

Coloradans for Safe and Clean Energy said it has gotten more than 98,000 signatures on a measure to expand the setback that oil and gas wells must have from homes, schools and other buildings, and more than 96,000 signatures to add an environmental bill of rights to the state’s constitution that would give local laws precedence over the state.

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They need 86,105 valid signatures for each initiative, though some of the signatures they have obtained will likely be challenged.

“Collecting nearly 100,000 signatures on each measure in just five weeks time proves the overwhelming support amongst Colorado voters for commonsense protections against roughshod fracking,” Mara Sheldon, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a statement Thursday.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) is backing both measures.

But Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) came out against them last week, calling the movement a one-size-fits-all approach. Udall is facing a tough reelection fight against Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

The different positions on the initiatives shows a major rift among the state’s Democrats.