Colorado Legislators Seek to Punish Cities that Ban Fracking

Fri, 2014-03-21 14:45Anne Landman
Anne Landman's picture

Colorado Legislators Seek to Punish Cities that Ban Fracking

Two Colorado legislators announced they are introducing a ballot initiative aimed at punishing cities and towns that vote to ban fracking within their borders.

Rep. Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch and Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling, both Republicans, announced they will attempt to get an initiative on the ballot to block local jurisdictions from getting severance tax revenues or grants from Departments of Local Affairs as long as they have fracking bans or moratoria in place.

The state collects severance taxes on income derived from the extraction of non-renewable natural resources, like oil and gas, coal and metallic minerals. Severance taxes also help pay for programs administered by Departments of Local Affairs.

The legislators estimated it will cost about $150,000 to get the initiative on the November, 2014 ballot. According to the Colorado Secretary of State, they  would need to gather approximately 86,000 valid signatures.

The lawmakers did not say why they chose a ballot initiative instead of just introducing legislation to achieve this goal, but it could be because they know chances are slim it would pass in Colorado's Democratically-controlled legislature.

Previous Comments

Douglas County in general and Highlands Ranch specifically seem to have become the right wing libertarian Mecca of the Mountain States.

Here's a tit for tat suggestion: turn north and northwest Douglas County into the sand and gravel mining supply center for Mountain States shale oil and gas hydraulic fracturing. Center the operation right at the Highlands Ranch Golf Club.

We're not talking quaint little 19th century quarry pits here. We're talking 21st century industrial sand and gravel mining operations that would make the Alberta tar sands mining look like a backyard sandbox. Start with fleets of scrapers, dozers and loaders to clear the surface and overburden, including McMansions. Build new haul roads straight through the god awful suburban sprawl. Apply eminent domain on Lake Chatfield reservoir for exclusive water rights for crushing and segregation and dust control. Continuous 24/7 blasting, processing and hauling operations. Turn it into a libertarian minerals grab wet dream.

Here's an interesting report from the late 1980s on Douglas County minerals extraction. This was before the population boomed to around 300,000. There was already a concern with development expansion from Denver metro at that time. That was when there was less than 60,000 people in the county. Platte and other rivers flow through the county, thus the minerals deposits.

http://www.douglas.co.us/cmp2030/documents/mineral-extraction-plan.pdf

Bottom line: Douglas County including Highlands Ranch Ranch (home of the little CU/DU educated small government douche, Frank McNulty) could be the Saudi Arabia of sand and grave.

Call me confused, but if you vote to not support something, is it not hypocritical to expect to benefit from those same activities that are still done elsewhere?  It's like voting to ban slaughtering cows, but still eating steaks every night.  Creepy!

I think all people who are serious about banning fracking should get on the forefront to >not< accept any tax revenue gained from fossil fuels, while immediately eliminate any personal use of natural gas for home heating, oil for lubrication, gasoline for fuel, and coal or gas based electricity (about 95% of what comes to a typical home) for running computers, charging phones and such.  

Only once you are fully off the grid, can you honestly say you are living your beliefs.

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This is a guest post by Caroline Cox, research director at the Center for Environmental Health.

Decades ago, when I was a graduate student, my advisor often said that our job as scientists was to put numbers on the obvious. Maybe it should be obvious that oil and gas production, including as it does the extraction, transport, and processing of enormous quantities of hydrocarbon mixtures, will result in air pollution, but studies that put numbers on this pollution have been rare.

The...

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