A number of local ballot measures targeting hydraulic fracturing in Colorado and Ohio were put to a vote in the 2013 election. The results have been tabulated, and we are providing a summary of each measure and how it fared with voters on election day. Those Colorado municipalities that passed hydraulic fracturing bans or moratoria that are essentially de facto bans face formidable hurdles with the State, which interprets its oil and gas regulations as preempting local bans. The preemption issue, however, is not unique to Colorado. High profile lawsuits have been filed in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere.

Colorado

  • Boulder – Ballot Question 2H converts the current one year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing into a five year ban. It passed by a wide margin.
  • Broomfield – Question 300 imposes a five year prohibition on all hydraulic fracturing, and passed by a razor-thin margin of seventeen votes. The extremely close results mean that a mandatory recount will likely occur.
  • Fort Collins – Ballot Issue 2A imposes a five year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing and storage of oil and gas industry waste products in town. It passed with approximately 56% of the vote.
  • Lafayette – Question No. 300 bans new oil and gas wells in town and prohibits storage and transportation within city limits of water, brine, chemicals, or byproducts that are used in or are generated by oil and gas extraction. It passed with approximately 60% of the vote, despite opposition from the city’s mayor, Carolyn Cutler, and the business community.

Ohio

  • Bowling Green – The Community Bill of Rights would assert the right to a “clean energy future” and, to that end, prohibit storage of hydraulic fracturing wastewater, brine, chemicals, or other by-products, and transport of such through the city. It would also explicitly prohibit the construction of new energy infrastructure, hold corporations engaging in extraction activities in neighboring municipalities liable for harm to Bowling Green ecosystems, and declare that corporations engaging in prohibited energy production activities do not have the rights afforded to “persons” by the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions. It was opposed by the city’s mayor and the local business community, and was roundly defeated by nearly 75%.
  • Youngstown – The Community Bill of Rights would prohibit hydraulic fracturing within city limits, but the measure was rejected with 57% of voters voting against it.

With assistance from Andrew McNamee