Hickenlooper’s push for fracking compromise runs into roadblocks

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Photo: Fracking worker Mead, Colo. (AP Photo)This week saw two major developments in the efforts of Gov. John Hickenlooper to broker a compromise over oil and gas drilling regulations.

The compromise would give cities more control to restrict oil and gas development, including establishing setbacks from homes, for example, while stopping cities from banning drilling altogether. The governor wants to keep measures off the ballot that would allow local communities to pass bans.

Hickenlooper is seeking a compromise, which would be turned into legislation and passed at the state Capitol to pursuade people who are pushing ballot measures to drop them.

Before calling a special session at the state Capitol, Hickenlooper wants to make sure he has the votes to pass such a bill. This week's developments are likely to shrink his chances of doing that.

Shortly after the Colorado Association of Homebuilders, an industry group, announced its support for compromise, several of the group's board members and its lobbying team resigned. Reporter Ed Sealover of the Denver Business Journal, quotes Eric Brown, a spokesman for Hickenlooper, saying the mass resignations make "the partisan landscape more difficult to navigate."

Lawmakers that may hold critical swing votes in determining whether the compromise will become law, expressed hesitation. Yesterday, Sealover reported that two Democratic state senators -- Lois Tochtrop (D-Thornton) and Cheri Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge) -- want to see more support for the compromise from both parties before they'll vote for it.

Sealover spoke with "Colorado Matters" host Ryan Warner.