Mandatory recount of fracking ban vote taking place in Broomfield

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — A ban on fracking in Broomfield was passed in this month’s off-year elections, much to the surprise of many voters.

The decision to stop fracking for five years was a very close one – almost too close to call, passing by a mere 17 votes, according to a provisional count that was completed on Thursday night. That’s why a mandatory recount was taking place Friday morning.

To say this fracking is a heated issue may be an understatement.

Fracking is a hydraulic process that involves the usage of pressurized chemicals to fracture rock in order to get oil and gas. A grassroots group concerned about the environmental impact of fracking got enough signatures to put a measure that would ban the practice in Broomfield for five years on November’s ballot.

The ban fell short on Election Day by 13 votes, but came out ahead by 17 after the provisional votes were counted Thursday night.

At a fracking forum earlier in November, Governor John Hickenlooper urged Coloradans to become more informed on an energy issue that seemingly becomes more volatile by the day.

“I believe that the primary reason that people have strong reactions against fracking – and some other processes – is due to a lack of correct information,” Hickenlooper said.

Others, like Joan Stern-Murahata, who says she’s part of a group of grandmothers against fracking, vehemently disagree with Hickenlooper.

“The reason we moved to Colorado is for the clean air and water,” Murahata said. “I feel like endangering the health of our grandchildren by contaminating their water is unacceptable.”

Those who want fracking to continue in places like Broomfield say that although defeated, the fact that the race was so tight shows their thoughts about fracking’s environmental safety have plenty of support.

“In a very tight race, Broomfield voters demonstrated that they’re concerned about extreme energy bans,” said Tisha Schuller, President and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

Other cities like Boulder, Fort Collins and Lafayette have stood firm against fracking. Some experts say we could see a vote on a statewide ban on fracking in 2014.