"DENVER — Seeking to head off a costly election-year fight over oil and gas drilling that could threaten vulnerable Colorado Democrats, Gov. John W. Hickenlooper said Monday that he had reached a deal to keep two antifracking measures off November’s ballots.
The fight over fracking in a swing state that prizes its natural beauty and relies on its energy resources for jobs and tax revenues has become a monthslong headache for Democratic leaders, opening fissures within the party and between pro-energy moderates and environmental groups that want to impose tough limits on the oil and gas rigs sprouting up alongside subdivisions.
Under the agreement announced Monday, Representative Jared Polis, a millionaire Democrat who has been a leading backer of a campaign to limit drilling, said he would pull his support for two measures that would have prohibited drilling within 2,000 feet of homes and given communities the power to pass tough new rules on energy development in their backyards — a power now claimed by the state.
In exchange, the state would create an 18-person task force to study the effects of drilling near homes and schools, with several members drawn from affected communities. The state would also drop a 2012 lawsuit filed against a Northern Colorado city, Longmont, that had crafted its own restrictive oil and gas rules."