Report: Top CO Dems help back 2016 pro-fracking causes
Top Colorado Democrats, including those who led an effort to turn the state blue more than a decade ago, “have warmed to the frackers,” according to a report in The Intercept.
The piece, written by Alleen Brown for the First Look Media outlet backed by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, examines spending in the fight over 2016 ballot measures aimed at curbing fracking in Colorado. While oil-and-gas groups have raised $6.3 million to defeat these initiatives, supporters of the ballot measures have only raised $56,000.
Behind the pro-fracking money, The Intercept reports, are big-time Colorado Democrats including ex-Gov. Roy Romer, Tim Gill, and Ted Trimpa, a lobbyist who along with Gill was “an architect of Colorado Democrats’ surprise take-back of state politics from Republicans in 2004.” (Disclosure: The Gill Foundation is a funder of The Colorado Independent.)
A large-scale battle for votes between oil-and-gas interests and anti-fracking groups was squelched in the 2014 Colorado midterms with an 11th hour compromise forged by fracking friendly Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. Democratic Congressman Jared Polis of Boulder, another Blueprint alum, had bankrolled the ballot measures and then backed out as part of the compromise.
This year, that ballot measure battle might materialize.
From the story:
One measure would allow cities to pass rules to limit or even ban oil and gas development locally; the other would disallow companies from building oil and gas facilities closer than 2,500 feet from “occupied structures.” A third, supported by a separate group called Coloradans for Community Rights, would empower communities to make all kinds of decisions, including whether to frack. The groups are currently in the process of gathering the 98,000 signatures required to get on the ballot.
The Intercept indicates anti-fracking groups in Colorado aren’t looking for a deja vu scenario this time around.
The group Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development, or CREED, “is very sensitive to the fact that our Democrats had a large hand in the initiatives being pulled last time, because they had so much control,” Lauren Petrie, a senior organizer for Food and Water Watch, told the publication. For 2016, she added, they’re “making sure that this is remaining a grassroots-led effort.”
[Photo credit: 401(K) 2012 via Creative Commons in Flickr]
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