Two anti-fracking measures proposed for Colorado’s November ballot threaten to split the state’s Democrats and put Hillary Clinton in a tough spot politically — while offering the oil and gas industry a chance to try to push her back to the center on energy issues.
Some mainstream environmentalists hope the ballot items will quietly die instead.
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State officials have until early September to decide whether activists have gathered enough signatures to secure a November vote on the two proposals, which would limit where oil and gas drillers can frack and would allow cities to ban the practice. But other environmentalists, alarmed by the industry’s multimillion-dollar opposition campaign, fear that their movement will suffer a demoralizing defeat if the two proposals make it in front of the voters. So the major green groups are mostly avoiding the fight.
“If I were a betting person, I would not bet they would get on the ballot,” one Colorado environmentalist said of the anti-fracking initiatives, insisting on anonymity to speak candidly. The person added: “If they do get on the ballot, the oil and gas industry will just pummel this state. Democrats and moderate Republicans won’t want to touch this issue for quite some time.”
Another environmental advocate in the state agreed that the initiatives have “a pretty tough path to victory” if they make it onto the ballot, adding: “I’d rather not see the measures crushed at the ballot box.”
Meanwhile, some in the industry see the ballot initiatives as a chance to ramp up the pressure on Democrats like Clinton, who has been leading GOP nominee Donald Trump by double digits in the latest Colorado polls.
“These fracking measures are a game changer for the election in Colorado. It …