11/5 UPDATE: Informal results have the ban narrowly failing:
In an election full of revealing story lines, one of the most watched nationally will be the outcome of an initiative that would ban hydraulic fracturing in Broomfield.
There are three other fracking bans on local ballots — in Fort Collins, Lafayette and Boulder — but those college towns are so hard left that no one expects those bans to be close.
The SUV-driving fracktivists in Boulder and Fort Collins would probably ban fossil fuels completely if someone put it on the ballot. Lafayette too. College towns will be college towns. And Boulder County will be Boulder County.
Broomfield, on the other hand, is being looked at by national commentators as a potential forerunner in the fracking fight because it is a true bellwether county in this bellwether swing state.
From the Wall Street Journal, dateline Broomfield yesterday:
Colorado, with its long history of energy extraction, would be a bigger test of whether the oil and gas industry and its supporters can surmount growing opposition from some communities and national environmental groups.
Broomfield has elected both Democrats and Republicans to the Legislature in the last two cycles. If anything, Broomfield has inched to Democrats, with President Obama carrying it in 2012, and Michael Bennet topping Ken Buck in 2010.
That’s got national journalists focused on Broomfield. The results of the fracking vote in this swing north-metro community will say a lot about where the fracking fuss goes from here.
Environmentalists understand the stakes. Last week, an environmental group being run by a former top aide of Michael Bennet started running a deceitful TV ad in the Denver area implying that fracking was causing environmental disasters on a daily basis.
There is big money being tossed into these fracking bans. National environmental groups, who raised at least $30 million last year, have been running ads and paying canvassers for months to instill fear of fracking among voters.
If the Broomfield ban fails, it will be a warning that outside college towns and Boulder County, voters aren’t so willing to buy into the fractivists claims. It’s a swing county that’s been trending Democrat in recent years, but as the only locale that can claim the adjective swing, it’s fracking ban measure will be watched far and wide.
If it passes, brace yourself for frack wars across Colorado.