Local Control Colorado latest group to attempt to give more power to local governments over oil and gas activity
By John Aguilar, Camera Staff Writer
More anti-fracking fervor could be headed to the ballot this year, as a new coalition this week announced plans to collect signatures as part of an effort to get a measure in front of voters in November that would give cities and towns more control over oil and gas drilling inside their borders.
The group, called Local Control Colorado, consists partially of anti-fracking organizations that have formed in Boulder and Broomfield counties over the last year or so. They include Our Broomfield, Our Longmont and Boulder County Citizens for Community Rights.
Laura Fronckiewicz, who helped lead the charge against fracking in Broomfield as part of the group Our Broomfield, said Tuesday it’s clear that oil and gas drilling near where people live is becoming a flashpoint statewide.
“It shows me that a lot of people are concerned about this across the state,” she said. “Who best to decide what should go on — you, your neighbors or somebody 15, 50 or 200 miles away?”
The group said it submitted language late last week to Colorado Legislative Services for a constitutional amendment to give local municipalities in the state more of a say over whether hydraulic fracturing — an oil and gas extraction method that uses large amounts of water along with sand and chemicals to draw hydrocarbon deposits out of underground rock — should be permitted in their communities.
Local Control Colorado’s announcement comes on the heels of a similar — though more sweeping — ballot measure proposed last month by the Colorado Community Rights Network. That measure, also a constitutional amendment, would give local governments across the state the power to ban or restrict not just oil and gas drilling but other industrial activities now permitted by state law.
Both groups need to collect 86,000 valid signatures from Colorado voters by the beginning of August to get their respective measures onto the November ballot.