Gov. John Hickenlooper's plan to drop four proposals related to oil and gas drilling from November's ballot appears to have succeeded.
Key to Hickenlooper's proposal was U.S. Rep. Jared Polis , a Democrat, who had financially backed two of the measures seeking limits on drilling. On Monday, he agreed to ask organizers to drop the anti-fracking initiatives.
In return, state Rep. Frank McNulty, and state Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg will drop their pro-drilling measures from the ballot.
"This is an exciting turn of events," McNulty said in a statement Monday.
In place of the ballot measures, Hickenlooper announced his intention to create a task force that will issue recommendations to Legislature aimed at minimizing land-use conflicts. The 18-member task-force will include oil and gas industry, ag industry, local governments, and civil leaders.
"This proposal will put the matter in the hands of a balanced group of thoughtful community leaders, business representatives and citizens who can advise the legislature and the executive branch on the best path forward," Hickenlooper said.
(Photo: CPR/Pat Mack)U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who opposed the ballot measures, released a statement Monday congratulating Hickenlooper and Polis.
"This deal — which averts a divisive and counterproductive ballot fight over one-size-fits-all restrictions — is welcome news and underscores how all of Colorado benefits when we find common ground," Udall said.
Hickenlooper also announced he's asked state officials to drop a lawsuit against the city of Longmont, which had enacted a ban on fracking in 2012.