4:35am

Fri October 19, 2012
Politics

Oil and Gas Groups Fighting Longmont Fracking Ban with Deep Pockets

In Longmont, oil and gas companies have raised close to a half million dollars toward an effort to defeat a ballot measure that would ban hydraulic fracturing from within the city’s limits. 

The amount of money being spent in the race around Initiative 300 is approaching historic levels for a local election, which is of little surprise because Longmont has been ground zero to the "fracking" controversy in Colorado.  

The city tried to ban it already in residential neighborhoods and has been sued by the state.  But local and national anti-fracking groups haven’t been deterred and are going ahead with Initiative 300, though as Sam Schabacker of the group Food and Water Watch notes, they’ve only raised about $20,000 in the past five months in support of it.

"The oil and gas industry has raised nearly half a million dollars in five weeks. This is a blatant attempt to intimidate the citizens of Longmont against voting for a measure to protect health safety and property values in town."

But Bill Ray with the opposition group Main Street Longmont says it should come as no surprise that the industry is rallying to defeat the measure.

"If Longmont were to be voting on a ban on soda pop, no one would be surprised if Coke and Pepsi were supporting that campaign." 

If it passes, Ray says private property rights are at stake in Longmont, because many companies wouldn’t be able to develop the mineral rights their legally entitled to.