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Hickenlooper: No special session on fracking

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 16, 2014 at 1:25 pm •  Published: July 16, 2014

DENVER (AP) — Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said Wednesday that he won't call a special legislative session seeking to grant communities more control over Colorado's booming oil and gas industry.

The announcement comes after months of negotiations between the Hickenlooper administration, the energy industry, and environmentalists. The goal was to try to stave off ballot measures that would restrict fracking and, the energy industry has argued, damage the state's economy.

"We have not been able to secure the broader stakeholder support necessary to pass bipartisan legislation in a special session," Hickenlooper said in a statement.

One proposed ballot measure would increase rig setbacks from homes from 500 feet to 2,000 feet. Another would create an Environmental Bill of Rights, giving local governments more control over drilling operations. Democratic Colorado U.S. Rep. Jared Polis is financially backing some of the proposals, and the negotiations were driven to try to get him to withdraw his support.

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

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