Hickenlooper, Polis announce fracking compromise

Photo: Polis, Hickenlooper (AP Photo)
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., takes questions during a news conference about fracking, as Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, stands at left, inside the Capitol, in Denver, Monday Aug. 4, 2014.

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: John HickenlooperU.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.