Deja vu in Colorado suburbs: Fracking measure on ballot again

Like Bill Murray in the movie “Groundhog Day,” residents of this leafy Denver-Boulder suburb wake up each day to find themselves locked in an eerily familiar fight over hydraulic fracturing. Four years ago, Broomfield voters narrowly approved a fracking moratorium that was subsequently overturned by the Colorado Supreme Court, which ruled that the state, not localities, had authority over energy policy. Case closed? Hardly. On Tuesday, voters will go to the ballot box to decide on Question 301, a measure that would give the city “plenary authority” over all aspects of oil and gas development within its boundaries, which would run counter to the high court’s ruling. For Colorado’s anti-fracking movement, the idea is to leapfrog the courts by putting pressure on state regulators to enact rule changes that give more control to suburban communities as they spill into the Denver-Julesburg basin. “I have been involved in many efforts at the state level to update the state’s antiquated laws written for drilling vertical wells in rural areas,” Broomfield resident Jean Lim said in a Yes on 301 video. “We need local and regional efforts to push for state rule-making.” That’s an expensive way to make a point, say foes, especially since Broomfield has already spent heavily on court fees stemming from the 2013 measure, not to mention the anti-fracking campaign’s failed effort in July to recall Mayor Pro Tem Greg Stokes. “It’s like, here we go again,” said former state Rep. Don Beezley, a Republican and spokesman for the No on 301 camp.

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