With Colorado Fracking Measure, Battle Over Oil and Gas Comes to a Head

October 24, 2018 AT 10:00 AM

By Julie Turkewitz and Clifford Krauss

On stage at the Adams County fairgrounds, the M.C. wore cowgirl boots and a pink T-shirt that read “Mothers in Love With Fracking.”

In the audience, more than a thousand oil and gas workers looked on as local leaders issued dire warnings about the effects of a Colorado ballot measure that, if passed, could drastically reduce oil and gas drilling in the state.

Thousands of jobs: gone. Millions of dollars: lost. Conservative families: driven out.

“The wolves are at the front door,” insisted one speaker. “We need to tell them to frack off,” thundered another.

After years of bitter fights over oil and gas development, Colorado voters have managed to get a statewide anti-fracking measure on the November ballot. The initiative is unprecedented in its scope — potentially barring new wells on 95 percent of land in top-producing counties — and industry executives are watching with concern, fearful that it could encourage similar measures across the nation.

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