Anti-fracking measures to be officially pulled from Colorado ballot

Coloradans for Safe and Clean Energy will officially pull the petititions in support of two controversial anti-fracking ballot measures Tuesday, quieting a storm between Colorado Democrats.

The two ballot initiatives were heavily pushed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) all the way up to the deadline for them to make it onto the November ballot, though he, as well, pulled his support on Monday

ADVERTISEMENT
The measures created a flurry of backlash from industry, stakeholders, and property owners across the state, and threatened to hurt Democrats Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.) and Gov. John Hickenlooper (Colo.) in their reelection bids by dividing the base.

After a deal was struck on Monday between Polis and Hickenlooper, the group responsible for gathering signatures for the anti-fracking initiatives still submitted them to the secretary of state's office.

But Coloradans for Safe and Clean Energy said late Monday night that it will withdraw the initiatives Tuesday, having confirmed that two industry-backed measures were pulled.

"Now that Initiatives 121 and 137 have been withdrawn, tomorrow we will also be withdrawing our initiatives, 88 and 89," spokeswoman for the green group, Mara Sheldon, said in a statement. "We are pleased an agreement could be reached and that we can balance protections for Colorado families with responsible energy development."

The two anti-fracking measures would have forced hydraulic fracturing wells to be 2,000 feet from schools, hospitals and other facilities, and established an "environmental bill of rights."

The industry initiatives would have restricted towns that banned fracking for natural gas from receiving tax revenues from oil and gas development.

Udall, who is facing a tough reelection race, didn't hide his relief after the deal was struck Monday, and indicated that the measures would have drawn out an unwelcome fued.

"I applaud Governor Hickenlooper and Congressman Polis for reaching this compromise," Udall said in a statement. "This deal — which averts a divisive and counterproductive ballot fight over one-size-fits-all restrictions — is welcome news and underscores how all of Colorado benefits when we find common ground."