About two weeks ago an amendment came up for debate in the Colorado Legislature that received virtually no press coverage, but which has enormous ramifications for the wider energy debate in Colorado. Boulder County Democrat Senator Matt Jones proposed banning the state from spending money to sue cities or counties who decide to violate state law and unilaterally ban fracking, as Governor Hickenlooper has promised to do.

The interesting part is the amendment died on voice vote, ensuring there was no record of who sided with Hickenlooper over the anti-fracking activists. Democrats, it seems, were hoping environmentalists wouldn’t notice.

Seeing that Democrats had a majority on the committee, and the amendment lost, at least a few of them voted against the amendment — we just don’t know which ones.

According to a legislative source, the purpose of the amendment was:

Adds a footnote stating that is is the General Assembly’s intent to preclude state agencies and the Department of Law from using state funds to initiate litigation challenging city and county regulation of oil and gas activity.

A big win for oil and gas. A big loss for anti-fracking enviros. And some serious ‘splaining to do on the part of legislative Democrats to one of their core constituencies.