FULL INTERVIEW: Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper On Debate Over Local Control Of Fracking

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D)

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper continues his attempts to craft a compromise in the hotly-debated issue over giving local governments some control over oil and gas drilling.

New technologies like fracking have brought drilling closer to populated areas in the state, even within the boundaries of some communities, such as Greeley. This encroachment has led to concerns over noise, pollution, and even explosive dangers as many residents consider measures to curtail drilling or ban it all together. Industry officials argue that ownership of the mineral rights makes drilling constitutionally guaranteed..

In this interview, Hickenlooper speaks with Inside Energy Reporter Dan Boyce about this ongoing dispute and his thoughts on convening a special session of the state legislature to head off potential ballot measures to ban fracking.

  • ParentalGuidance

    The Hickenlooper narrative fails to mention that Colorado state law supports and encourages state-wide natural resource development. The dialog among the politicians and gas and oil industry representatives holds to a very specific set of talking points pertaining to “local control” but which still promotes and encourages fracking everywhere gas and oil would like. We hear about “tougher regulations” and greater set-backs, meaning the distance from a home’s front door to a frack tower may lengthen by a few hundred feet, but Hick’s talk of local control holds no promise of a citizen or a community effectively, under the current state law, to prevent them from being fracked.

    God forbid a mineral rights owner should be denied. Under the current legal scheme, all rights not created equal and mineral rights negate all other individuals rights. A surface rights owner has forced upon them the unmitigated physical, psychological and environmental impact consequences of fracking. So do all the other community members living proximate to the frack site. Mineral right owners profit while everyone else is left to suffer the consequence, albeit for a modest stipend paid for the usurpation of their property in the case of the surface rights owner. Everyone else gets the gaseous frack waste byproducts in their town, homes and lungs.

    Did you notice Mr. Hickenlooper never said people could, or should be able to say no to and ban fracking? Nobody gets paid when fracking isn’t happening. Community members are spared the implications and preserve their health, safety and welfare but frackers can’t cash in. Regulators can’t regulate when communities get to stand up for their rights in THEIR community.

    There is CONTROL OVER THE FRACKING DEBATE because the state and the gas and oil industry control the laws and the media dialog, and the community has no say legally. The only community-sponsored forum for creating local control and community rights is via a home rule ballot initiative #75 put forth by the Colorado Community Rights Network. This is the only legitimate effort to empower communities to create law to protect them from unwanted corporate projects like fracking. Anything short of home rule and community rights powers, put forth by community members themselves, is mere lip service and local control puppetry by political puppeteers. If you here tougher regulations and stricter controls, this is code for “Get ready to be fracked and there’s nothing you can do about it. We promise to be caring and gentle during the our several week course of fracking.”

  • Sarah Larrabee

    Ridiculous! Owning mineral rights does not give you free reign to commit death and destruction without responsibility-I don’t get how the “industry” gets from A to B on this.

    Yes you have the right to access minerals but you have to take responsibility to restore that land to its former state when you are done. That is impossible with fracking. End of story!

  • Seth

    This seems like a report that favors fracking. Hardly independent journalism.

  • John

    Fracking has created a windfall for owners of mineral rights so the “reduction in asset value” caused by regulation would be a phantom. It wasn’t there before fracking but we’re supposed to believe it was always there on the books. What about the reduction in value of the homes next to these things? There have always been limits on where you can put certain things. It’s called zoning and mineral rights shouldn’t be able to trump everyone else’s rights. Fracking towers are an eyesore and a nuisance. There has to be some logic in where they are allowed to go. Technology isn’t going to fix this. Remember it is technology that brought you fracking in the first place.

  • Dan Boyce

    Hi everyone,
    I’m the reporter on this story.
    Your concerns about drilling operations encroaching on the lives of everyday Coloradans are certainly held by many of the states residents. This interview with Governor Hickenlooper, done early in the campaign cycle and very early in our existence as an organization, is one of many that I and our other reporters have done on the wide range of perspectives on the fracking debate.

    I hope you continue to follow our work and I hope you will find it informative and well-balanced.