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Future Of Fracking Put To Voters In Colorado

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DENVER (CBS4)- The issue of whether local communities should have more control over fracking seems to be headed to voters on the November ballot.

Gov. John Hickenlooper said he won’t call a special session to resolve the issue through legislation. He said people on both sides of the aisle, and issue, worked for months to reach a compromise.

One aimed at what Hickenlooper called “expensive and divisive ballot initiatives.” In the end, they couldn’t agree on legislation that would pass.

At least four measures are expected to make the November ballot. Two of them have financial backing from Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat representing Boulder. He got involved after a drilling rig went up near one of his homes.

“We already have some of the best air quality regulations in the country. What we utterly lack, which other states have, is the siting requirements making sure it doesn’t disrupt neighborhoods, drive people from their homes and make families temporarily homeless,” said Polis.

Colorado has among the furthest setbacks in the U.S.

Initiative 88 would require a setback further than any state or city at 2,000 feet.

Initiative 89 would give local governments more control over all regulations, including bans of fracking.

State House Majority Leader, Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, leads the effort, “It was very clear, particularly among Senate Republicans who were locked down against this for whatever reasons they may give you, it was in my opinion highly political.”

Hullinghorst is a Democrat representing Boulder. She said Republicans don’t want to give Hickenlooper a win so close to an election.

Rep. Frank McNulty, a Republican representing Highlands Ranch, said that’s simply not true.

He said Congressman Polis single-handedly killed the deal, “I think his ego was at play here. I think the fact that he has millions of dollars to bully the rest of us around was at play here, but ultimately I think he wants to have his way or he’s going to take his initiatives and run with it and that’s not the way it works.”

Polis told CBS4 big oil conglomerates that don’t even do business in Colorado killed the compromise.

Hickenlooper will hold a news conference on Thursday with the main coalition working to defeat the two initiatives.

Among the other measures expected to make the ballot, a proposal to prohibit communities that ban fracking from receiving tax dollars generated by it.

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