Voters in Boulder and Fort Collins, Colorado approved a five-year moratoriums on fracking Tuesday, and in Lafayette an outright ban on fracking won approval.
One other town, Brromfield, also had an anti-fracking moratorium on the ballot. That race was too close to call on Tuesday night. But it looked like it might be defeated.
Boulder’s anti-fracking measure passed by a wide margin.
There are about 141 active wells in the four regions that voted on fracking, out of the state’s total 51,398, Bloomberg said.
Last year, voters in Longmont, about 40 miles north of Denver, banned fracking, but that ban is currently being challenged in court by both the state and the oil and gas industry. The outcome of the court case will also impact the legality of the newest fracking bans approved Tuesday.
Gov. John Hickenlooper opposes the moratoria and bans.
“If people just had the real facts,” the governor said. “The leaders in the energy community are willing to look at land planning, emissions, spills. The industry is willing to sit and talk and say we can do this safely and spend extra money on operations when we’re near a neighborhood.”
Colorado’s Niobrara shale formation has an estimated 2 billion barrels of oil.
The state’s crude oil production has risen 64 percent since 2010 and marketed natural gas production rose 27 percent, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
“What happens in Colorado may serve as a litmus test for the oil and gas industry, as fracking continues to spread across the US,” the Christian Science Monitor said.