Voters in three communities in Colorado succeeded in passing fracking moratoriums or outright bans on election night Tuesday.
By Wednesday morning, nearly all of the votes had been tallied and the anti-fracking measures had passed handily in the Colorado cities of Lafayette, Boulder and Fort Collins, but appeared to be failing in neighboring Broomfield, where rumors began swirling of a recount.
Boulder voted an overwhelming "no" to fracking with 78 percent approving a five-year extension of the city's moratorium.
Lafayette voters called for a complete ban on oil and gas drilling within city limits, with 59 percent in support of the measure. The city now joins Longmont, which has a fracking ban already in place and is currently being sued by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Gov. John Hickenlooper's (D) administration. Hickenlooper -- who claims to have once drunk fracking fluid -- has also said that he will sue any municipality in Colorado that bans fracking.
The fracking moratorium was closest in Broomfield, where The Denver Post and Politico energy reporter Alex Guillen are reporting that the measure is still too close to call:
Anti-fracking measure in Broomfield, Colo., now has razor-thin 13-vote margin against (out of 20,519 votes) #prepareforarecount
— Alex Guillen (@alexcguillen) November 6, 2013
Pro-fracking voters in Broomfield were winning by just 13 votes of the more than 20,500 cast at the time of publishing, according to unofficial results posted on the city's website.
With the success of the bans in Colorado, the director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Community Fracking Defense Project Kate Sinding wrote in the group's blog that the NRDC is expecting more pro-fracking lawsuits.
Around the country, we're increasingly seeing communities stand up for themselves when their state and/or the federal government has not. Numerous communities, and some entire states, around the country are taking their fracking fate into their own hands.
Unfortunately, as with prior similar measures in both states, industry lawsuits seem likely.
What came as more of a surprise however is the 56-44 percent victory for anti-fracking activists in Fort Collins.
"I don't think that anyone thought that's this could happen to us," Ray Martinez, an opponent of the moratorium who's with the Fort Collins Alliance for Renewable Energy, told 9News.
In Ohio, the other state where anti-fracking measures made it onto the ballot in three cities, the results were almost the exact reverse of Colorado.
Youngstown defeated its fracking ban measure for the second time this year by 9.7 percentage points with Bowling Green rejecting the measure too, despite a unanimous vote by the city council in favor of a fracking ban earlier this month. Only the college town Oberlin passed the ban.