Edited by Brittany Clingen
Attention-grabbing issues that dominated ballot measure discourse in 2013 are continuing to pop up as potential topics for 2014 ballots. Joining GMOs and minimum wage increases, fracking may be another hot-button issue that voters will decide on in 2014. The group Protect Our Colorado is attempting to place a measure on a 2014 ballot that would ask voters whether or not hydraulic fracturing, colloquially known as fracking, should be banned in the state. Fracking is the process of injecting fluid - mostly water and sand but with additional chemicals - into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks, releasing natural gas inside. This practice is controversial, as many of the chemicals used are alleged by opponents to be toxic or carcinogenic. Activists who are against the method argue that it releases methane and harmful chemicals into nearby ground water. However, supporters of the process argue that, in fact, none of the chemicals are dangerous. They further contend that fracking significantly increases domestic oil output and could eventually lead the United States to energy independence.
52 measures for 2014
Though no statewide ballot measures addressed the issue in 2013, seven local measures dealt with fracking, with four in Colorado and three in Ohio. One of the three measures in Ohio was approved, while all four got the green light from voters in Colorado. One of the local Colorado fracking measures was approved by such a thin margin that a recount was held. The recount upheld the original election results, showing the measure was approved 50.04 to 49.96 percent.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association believes that, in spite of the four local fracking bans currently implemented in the state, the practice won't be eliminated statewide. “It's not surprising that you would have passed that in the city of Boulder. They haven't seen a well since 1999. It's a symbolic vote saying we don't like oil and gas. It has nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing,” said Colorado Oil and Gas director of policy Doug Flanders. However, Sam Schabacker, an organizer with Protect Our Colorado, said he believes Colorado residents' only option is a statewide initiative, saying that Gov. John Hickenlooper's administration will likely sue to block individual jurisdictions from putting fracking bans in place. "It's clear citizens don't have any other recourse," said Schabacker. In order for the statewide fracking ban measure to appear on the 2014 ballot, supporters must collect at least 86,105 valid signatures by August 4, 2014.
| 2014 Count
|| 52 measures
|| Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming
- ↑ News Channel 5, "Possible Colorado Fracking Ban on Next Ballot," December 11, 2013
- ↑ Frac Focus chemical disclosure website
- ↑ Bloomberg, "Fracking Boom Pushes U.S. Oil Output to 25-Year High," December 11, 2013
- ↑ National Geographic, "Results Mixed on Colorado and Ohio Fracking Ban Initiatives," November 6, 2013
- ↑ Aspen Daily News, "Ballot measure on Colo. fracking ban in the works," August 17, 2013