Governor: No special session on fracking

DENVER - Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper won't call a special legislative session seeking to grant communities more control over Colorado's booming oil and gas industry.

The announcement Wednesday comes after months of negotiations between the Hickenlooper administration, the energy industry, and environmentalists.

Hickenlooper says his office was unable to get the support necessary to pass legislation during a special session. The goal was to try to stave off ballot measures that would restrict fracking.

Hickenlooper and energy companies warn the measures could have devastating impacts on the state's economy. One proposed ballot measure would increase rig setbacks from homes from 500 feet to 2,000 feet.

Signatures to put the initiatives on the November ballot are due Aug. 4. Backers argue local governments deserve more say over how and when drilling happens.

Read the entire statement from the governor:

“Over the past several months, we have worked with a bipartisan coalition to explore a legislative compromise that would avoid a series of expensive and divisive ballot initiatives surrounding oil and gas development in Colorado. Despite our best efforts and those of other willing partners, we have not been able to secure the broader stakeholder support necessary to pass bipartisan legislation in a special session.”
“Although we will not be calling a special session on oil and gas local control legislation, we will continue to work on the underlying issue, building on progress made.”
“Throughout this process people of good will have shared their views and while they have not always agreed with our approach, at no time did we find legislators of either party or stakeholders unwilling to come to the table.”
“Colorado has made tremendous progress through collaboration and compromise to solve many of the issues surrounding oil and gas development.  We are leading the way with the nation's strongest air pollution emissions, the most robust frack fluid disclosure rule and the first direct regulation of methane.  In the last legislative session we significantly increased fines and penalties for violations of environmental and public safety regulations. Colorado is blessed with a rich array of energy resources. We all have an obligation to develop these resources in a way that supports the Colorado economy, respects private property rights and protects our environment.”
“Our thanks to all of those who supported the compromise. We continue to believe that the right way to solve complex issues like these is through the legislative process and through transparent rule making.”

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