by Chet Hardin
The environmental activists with Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights have begun the process of placing a charter amendment banning fracking within city limits on this coming November ballot.
"We have what we think is pretty darned good," says Dave Gardner of the charter amendment, "and we have the process underway."
Take a look at the petition filing.
This week, Colorado Springs City Council failed to pass an ordinance that would regulate oil and gas drilling in residential areas within the city limits. Currently, drilling is restricted solely to agriculturally zoned lands.
"We'd love to not have to do all that work," Gardner says of the petition filing. "We'd love for the City Council to put it on the ballot for us." But he adds that even though the current Council seems to have its reservations about drilling, the 4-4 vote that killed the ordinance was "pretty weak."
"Even the City Councilors who voted no on these regulations, they went out of their way to explain that, if they had stricter regulation and better enforcement, they might be a 'yes' vote," he explains. "We have not yet convinced them of the absolute insanity of permitting this activity."
CSCCR filed their intent to circulate a petition with the City Clerk's office on March 5. He says that they have been talking with other activists across the state and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.
Of course, if Colorado Springs voters approve a measure this November, they will be courting a potential lawsuit. Gov. John Hickenlooper has stated that he would sue any municipality that bans fracking, and is currently suing Longmont over that city's fracking restrictions.
"There are differing views as to what kind of ballot language has the most chance of success," says Gardner. "There's certainly a whole lot of doubt out that there about whether anything can pass some kind of court challenge, at least right away. ... We're hoping that if enough communities stand up to the mad-fracking governor that he will decide to not press the issue."