Opponents of anti-fracking measures are using their extra money to make it harder to amend the constitution

If Amendment 71 passes, it will be a lot harder for any future anti-fracking measures to get on the ballot, and it will take more votes to pass too.

Members of the oil and gas industry raised more than $17 million over two years in anticipation of a knock-down, drag-out fight over anti-fracking ballot measures in Colorado. Those measures failed to make the ballot, and now they’re putting their extra money into Raise the Bar, the amendment to make it harder to amend the state Constitution.

Colorado Public Radio took a look at the most recent campaign finance filings and found that Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence, a committee primarily funded by Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy, is now putting its resources into Amendment 71.

On Sept. 8, about 10 days after fracking restrictions failed to make the ballot, Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence contributed $1 million to Raise the Bar, the main political committee supporting Amendment 71. On the same day, the drilling industry’s committee changed its stated purpose with the Secretary of State’s office to explicitly state its support for Amendment 71.

Now, more than half of the contributions to Raise the Bar come from pro-oil and gas groups. Vital for Colorado has also given $600,000 to Raise the Bar since late June. It’s stated mission is to “promote the benefits of energy production in Colorado.”

If Amendment 71 passes, it will be a lot harder for any future anti-fracking measures to get on the ballot, and it will take more votes to pass too.

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.