DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper isn’t ruling out calling a special legislative session if a statewide anti-fracking ballot measure passes next week.
Proposition 112 may be the most controversial measure on the ballot this year. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission says it would ban fracking in most parts of the state by requiring a half mile buffer between new oil and gas drilling and homes, schools or any area government deems “vulnerable.”
Unless the legislature delays implementation of it, it takes effect immediately upon the governor certifying the election. He has 30 days to do so after Election Day (next Tuesday).
On Friday Hickenlooper, a Democrat, said he has already reached out to stakeholders and will sit down with them — and the governor-elect who will replace him due to term limits — before calling a special session.
“These iniatives are often bare bones,” Hickenlooper said. “They don’t go on 40 pages of what happens in this case or that case. You want to minimize the unintended collateral damage.”
“This is a big part of state’s economy. You’re talking 15 percent, some people say as much as 20 percent, of the state’s economy. And suddenly it goes to half? That is how you spell recession. And I think everybody needs to take a long, slow look and say ‘Alright, how do we go forward?’ — if it passes — ‘How do we get to what was intended?'”
Gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, a Republican, said during CBS4’s televised governor’s debate last month he would support a special session.
“I would pursue every redress possible for that job-killing measure,” he said.
His opponent Jared Polis, a Democrat, said he wouldn’t in the debate. He said if 112 is approved he’ll preserve “the sanctity of the will of the voters” and allow implementation.
If 112 passes and the Governor calls a special session, there’s no guarantee lawmakers will delay implementation of the measure. The Democratic majority leader in the House, Representative KC Becker out of Boulder, has come out in support of 112.
Ann Lee Foster with Colorado Rising, the group supporting Proposition 112, says the Governor has not reached out to them, “To say that he will undermine the will of the voters, on behalf of special interests, all while using dramatically inflated economic stats, is a violation of the democratic process and a clear statement that Hickenlooper does not have the best interest of Coloradans in mind.”