Don’t be fooled. The “local control” support isn’t very local at all. A quick look into the campaign contributions for the anti-fracking group “Yes! for Health and Safety Over Fracking” shows something very interesting: the so-called “local control” initiative that the group is backing isn’t being backed by any locals, unless you live in Boulder.
A staggering 73% of this astroturf group’s contributions come from Boulder. Contributions from other parts of Colorado come in at just 3%, which is far less than even overseas donations to the fund, which accounts for a whopping 11% of the funds. (Yes, it’s legal for ballot initiatives to take funds from international donors, and, yes, we had to ask, too.) Many of the donors came from the Netherlands and Australia, but, bizarrely, there was a $25,000 contribution from Lush Cosmetics in Canada as well. See the chart below.
According to the group, the funds are going to pay for “hundreds of signature gatherers” needed to collect and submit 160,000 signatures in order to get these issues on the ballot. Donations will also fund gimmicks such as “Tour de Frack,” a trip to a real live fracking site in Weld County, as well as “stickers and posters and t-shirts (oh my).”
The front group actually began collecting signatures for the anti-energy ballot measures back in April, with a specific focus on the proposals to increase building setbacks from wells to 2,500 feet, and the aforementioned “local control” measure, which would take the decision making authority away from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and replace it with a confusing patchwork of regulation that shifts as you cross municipal lines. We don’t think that the opponents of fracking care or understand that mineral deposits don’t have any regard for man-made geographic boundaries.
But that’s little worry for all the fractivists in Colorado whose only goal is to shut down the oil and gas industry in the state.