Looks like U.S. Rep. Jared Polis has given fractivists the green light to show themselves and their 2016 ballot measure to ban fracking, because according to him, all other efforts including the governor’s task force have failed.
Here’s what the master puppeteer had to say in a Washington Examiner article Monday, about “signals” from his minions that ballot measures are in the works.
One result from the compromise was a 21-member Oil and Gas Task Force, in which few people on either side put much faith. When the panel’s recommendations failed to include the two measures sought by activists — tripling or quadrupling the allowed distance between drilling and schools, homes, hospitals and other buildings, and giving local governments more control over fracking — anti-fracking activists quickly signaled they would work to put the measures on the 2016 ballot.
“It wasn’t any surprise given the task force failed. Because the commission failed, really, it’s all fair game And there’s a bunch of radical proposals out there. [A ballot push is] certainly what a lot of the groups are talking about.”
We’re not sure what Polis means by “radical proposals,” is he including the ones he financed last year out of his own pocket?
It is suspected that another ballot push has always been the anti-frackers’ plan. Industry supporters note that nine days after Hickenlooper and Polis agreed to the task force, state records show Polis contributed $770,000 to Coloradans for Safe and Clean Energy, the group he funded last year that led the ballot push. But the group spent that sum as quickly as it came in, ostensibly to pay for services rendered before aborting the ballot effort. As of Oct. 27, 2014, state records show the group has no money in the bank.
“I don’t believe I have any comment on that. I don’t think I’ve commented on that,” Polis told the Examiner when asked about the contribution. Polis told E&E News earlier this month that he wouldn’t finance any ballot efforts. But some are already underway, such as the Colorado Community Rights Network’s initiative to permit municipalities to block any industrial activity within their borders.
Polis has been trying to disassociate himself with his record of funding radical petition measures, like the one being pushed by whacktivist Cliff Willmeng, in what many speculate is a drive for higher office. However, it looks like he just can’t help but get involved again in the fracking ruckus.
But Cliff Willmeng, a board member with the Colorado Community Rights Network, said the ballot push is coming from citizens that span the political spectrum. Willmeng says his group’s effort is about giving communities a voice.
“Over years of effort, people in Colorado have found the political process to be a dead end, and we can no longer ask permission to protect our communities from the oil and gas industry,” Willmeng said in an email. “The Colorado Community Rights Amendment will give voters a decision on how much power corporations will be allowed, where that power conflicts with our community’s right to health, welfare, and basic safety.”
Those who led the push last summer are being coy, but are keeping the idea of a ballot effort alive. In a 2016 election that features a presidential contest that will bring more liberals and independents to the polls, anti-fracking measures could find more support. National groups are weighing whether to get involved. Some, such as Food & Water Watch, never left.
We think the Examiner has correctly summarized what Coloradans can expect to see next year, but we don’t think fractivists are being coy, we think it’s pretty obvious that’s what they are doing.