Feeling the wind is at their backs, many activists who attended a Frack-Free Colorado meeting in Boulder on Tuesday night wanted to discuss the next steps toward a statewide fracking moratorium or ban on the practice.
The 20 or so people who volunteered to be in a group focusing on a statewide ballot initiative found there is a steep mountain to climb before such a vote could be held, though.
Organizers said that before November 2014, petitioners would need to collect about 86,000 signatures to get a measure on the state ballot. They would need to have ballot language approved by the state and overcome any legal challenges the language may raise.
Most of all, they want something on the ballot that more than 50 percent of Colorado voters would support.
"Everything is on the table," said Sam Schabacker, an organizer for Food & Water Watch who helped head up the state ballot group at the meeting.
An organizer-estimated 100 people gathered at Unity Church for the meeting, which was one part victory celebration and two parts planning.
Frack-Free Colorado organized the event to bring together members of various Boulder County grass-roots groups that have cropped up to oppose fracking in their communities. It was in the wake of the Boulder County commissioners' vote June 18 to extend a countywide moratorium on accepting new applications for oil and gas development, just as the existing moratorium was set to expire.
"For some people, it is unbelievable that we accomplished what we accomplished," Frack-Free Colorado organizer Suzanne Spiegel said. "There are not many moments that we get to enjoy like this, where democracy is really occurring on the grass roots. I think that we are setting precedent, not on a small level, but in a really big way, where we can set precedent for our state and for our entire country."
Fellow organizer Russell Mendell said the best thing Boulder County anti-fracking groups can do is support each other in efforts to combat industry in individual communities like Broomfield, where a group has recently formed to circulate a petition for a five-year moratorium to be placed on the November ballot.
Representatives of that group, known as Our Broomfield, attended the meeting and appealed to other volunteers to help them circulate petitions at upcoming social events there.
Other speakers at the meeting included Cliff Willmeng, of East Boulder County United, who discussed progress to get a fracking ban on Lafayette's November ballot.
Shane Davis, of Fractivist.com, said he is writing a "fractivists' survival handbook" to help volunteers with strategies as well as data on the possible health and environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing.
The event also served as an impromptu fundraiser, as hats were passed and $769 was collected, organizers said.
Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ___