Monday, June 16, 2014

Fracking Compromise Stalls

The Governor’s effort to forge a compromise on the fracking wars has stalled, and as he puts it, all sides “are furious.” Both Hickenlooper and Congressman Jared Polis are under attack. Ironically, the greatest hostility they are facing is coming from their putative allies. Major parts of the industry are opposing Hickenlooper and the compromise as too risky and not needed. Environmentalists have taken on Polis for selling them out. And, both groups complain they weren’t invited to the negotiating table.

War chests are being built. Pro-industry forces have raised nearly $10 million. But, as the fracking votes in North Front Range cities showed last fall or the Cantor-Brat race last week, money doesn’t defeat a well-positioned idea.

A compromise is still likely a smart strategy.

Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli said there’s obviously a “very serious disconnect” between Polis and the anti-fracking movement.

“[H]e looked like he was making a good faith effort and was by and large respected and liked by the environmental community, and doing everything he could to say, ‘Well, if you don’t change a thing, I guess I can live with this,’ but that then put him in the camp with the governor,” said Ciruli. “For about four minutes, everybody liked him.”

On Initiative 75:

Ciruli predicted Initiative 75 would gather enough signatures to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot, whereas the Hickenlooper and Polis compromise appears to have run aground.

“This is obviously not working,” said Ciruli. “It’s kind of falling apart here.”

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