BROOMFIELD FRACKING BAN RECOUNT
Two weeks ago, voters in Broomfield County voters voted on whether to approve a five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it is known colloquially. The results of this moratorium, known as “Broomfield Question 300” are not yet settled. The measure, which was failing by 13 votes on election night, narrowly passed by 17 votes after outstanding ballots were certified last week. The narrow margin of victory made a recount mandatory per state law. Wednesday afternoon the recount will commence, with the results known on Thursday.
Fracking has been banned by voters in nearby counties to Broomfield. There are now fracking bans in Boulder, Fort Collins, and Lafayette. Colorado is a state with a large oil and gas industry, which carries with it a large lobby on its behalf. Governor Hickenlooper has been careful to not offend the oil and gas lobby in his time as Governor. He is politically-savvy to do so. There is a lot of political will in Colorado to keep Oil and Gas happy. Meanwhile there is an increased awareness of the dangers to people, communities, and the environment as a result of fracking. Films like the movie “Gasland” and “Gasland 2” have shown us the horrors of fracking. Especially the lasting image of people in Pennsylvania being able to light their drinking-water from the tap on fire because of the chemicals leeched into the water from hydraulic fracturing. This is not an image Americans are quick to forget. So, this Broomfield recount will be watched closely by both environmentalists and those who are pro-oil and gas. Especially in Northern Colorado counties like Weld County. Northern Colorado is experiencing a fracking boom which is making some people very rich.
The way that the oil-and-gas lobby counters the image of being able to light drinking-water on fire is two-fold. One: JOBS. Americans need jobs and there are jobs to be had in hydraulic fracturing. And the second part is touting how it secures America’s Energy Independence from the Middle-East. These are the counter to environmentalists and citizens concerns about pollution and water-quality (or lack thereof.) This is the way the oil and gas lobby can spin things. They can spin it as jobs and energy independence and not just flagrant and staggering short-sighted greed. They can spin it as securing our energy future instead of securing their next quarterly profits, which is of course, all that matters. That and the stock price of oil and gas companies and security of their stock-holders, naturally. It is a behemoth monster we are up against, we, the citizens, who want to have clean drinking water and farm lands and forests free of fracking contaminants.
This pursuit seems perhaps especially pressing and relevant in the face of the recent crippling floods in Colorado in areas where fracking is prevalent, and amid unresolved questions about whether some very serious pollution and contamination happened in fracking-sites devastated by the so-called One Thousand Year Flood in September 2013. The Daily Beast did an investigative piece about this which is worth a read.
I will be watching the results of Broomfield’s recount come in on Thursday and blogging about the results. If I had to venture to guess, I think the fracking ban might fail. Stay tuned…Developing…