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Fracking opponents try again



Once again, a group of local activists is going before the city in the name of a fracking ban.

According to Dave Gardner, the Title Board on April 5 rejected Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights' first attempt to get a go-ahead for the question they hope to put to voters. The group wants to make it unlawful within city limits "for any corporation, or any person to use a corporation to engage in the extraction of natural gas or oil, utilizing in whole or part the processes commonly known as hydraulic fracturing."

"We were told that it did not meet the single-subject requirement of the city," says Gardner, who adds that he and his cohorts disagree that this requirement should apply.

Fracking was a hot issue throughout last year, as a couple companies drilled exploratory wells in the eastern part of the county. It's lost a little urgency since Ultra Petroleum reported disappointing results, but could heat up again if Hilcorp Energy has luck.

So at noon Thursday at the City Administration Building, Gardner and company will be back before the Title Board. The board could reject their appeal, which would mean filing suit in district court. Even with approval, says activist Scott Olson, that will just begin the slog of collecting signatures.

And it's unclear when the charter amendment would even go before the voters. With the clock ticking, Olson says he isn't certain that they could make this November ballot. The next city election isn't scheduled until April 2015, and activists aren't sure whether they could collect signatures this summer for that election.

Says Gardner, "Our preference is not to cost the city a bunch for a special election. ... Our intentions are a little up in the air."

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