A local report out of Colorado indicates anti-oil activists may have fallen short of the nearly 100,000 signatures needed to place two measures on the ballot that would all but ban fracking in the state.
Political specialist Shaun Boyd with CBS 4 said the likelihood that the all of the requisite petitions have been gathered, “is remote.”
“I think they are doomed,” former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler told reporters.
“This story gets more bizarre by the day. The measures have been getting national attention as though they’ve already made the ballot, the New York Times calling them the most serious effort yet to stop fracking,” CBS 4 in Colorado reported Thursday.
The controversial ballot initiatives, called 75 and 78, if approved by voters, would add language to Colorado’s state constitution allowing local governments to all but ban fracking. Initiative 78 would require a 2,500-foot distance between hydraulic fracking and public areas like parks or hospitals.
Backers of the initiatives claim they have more than 100,000 signatures for both proposals. As a general rule, measures typically acquire more than 140,000 signatures before being placed on the Colorado ballot.
Even so, some officials have questioned the petitioners’ claims, suggesting that some of the boxes of signatures were empty.
Colorado Secretary of State Spokeswoman Lynn Bartels, for instance, tweeted photos of several empty boxes, adding in the tweet that backers of the initiatives “turned in lots of boxes with very few petitions in them.”
Colorado’s Supreme Court earlier this year concluded that only the state government has legal authority to govern fracking, as any ban would be “preempted by state law and therefore, is invalid and unenforceable.” Any law that would thwart the state’s court’s directive would likely find its way back in court.
Environmental groups the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Food and Water Watch, and others currently support local bans on fracking in the state. Recent campaign finance disclosure reports show that the initiatives’ backers have donated blood and treasure to supporting the measures.
Anti-fracking activists are calling the initiatives “the biggest” environment of the year.
After constant battles to ban fracking in the state, activists have taken extraordinary steps toward their mission.
“Keep It In The Ground” crusaders, for example, have etched out a position opposing all fossil fuel development, including divesting the entire world of oil investments, and have taken toincreasingly extreme tactics to push forward that message.
Environmentalists such as Bill McKibben and others orchestrated a massive rally in opposition to both the Supreme Court’s ruling and fracking in general.
The rally managed to repel state legislators once allied with the anti-fracking movement. Break Free 2016, the group that hosted the rally, boasted in media accounts prior to the event their intention of bringing more than 1,000 people to the event. Activists affiliated with Break Free 2016 are also spearheading the fracking restricting November ballot initiatives.
Posted by The Daily Caller.