Proposal for Statewide Ballot Initiative
to Ban Fracking in Colorado

Colorado Fracking Ban Initiative

Based on Article XXVI of the Colorado Constitution
(Ban on Nuclear Detonations)

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The best way to eliminate fracking in Colorado is to prohibit it in the Constitution using the citizens' ballot initiative process. This is the same way Colorado citizens banned nuclear detonations in 1974.

Citizens' Ballot Initiative is a Unique Tool
We are fortunate to have the citizens' ballot initiative process in Colorado, as people in most states do not have this process and must rely on their legislature to enact laws. Because of this unique tool, Colorado citizens should consider it their duty to use this special power to enact a statewide fracking ban in Colorado.

Costs of a Ballot Initiative
To get a measure on the ballot in Colorado, a group needs to collect 86,000 valid signatures in six months. Signatures have to be turned in 90 days before the election, so the petitioning period would go from Feb. 4, 2013 to Aug. 4, 2013. Since many signatures are disqualified because of technicalities, a group should plan on collecting twice the required number of signatures (about 160,000).

There has never been an all-volunteer group that has put an initiative on the ballot in Colorado. The main cost in the campaign is to pay signature-gatherers and run the administrative parts of the campaign. The average pay is $1/signature to the signature-gatherer. Overhead would be anywhere from $0.50 to $1.00 additional per signature. So the minimum to start a signature-gathering campaign would be $240,000 to $320,000. After ballot status is achieved, more money will be needed for advertising and education in support of the initiative.

Local vs. Statewide Campaigns
Since our resources are limited, we should all ban together and use our unique power of the ballot initiative to ban fracking permanently in Colorado. This would make Colorado the first state to ban fracking in the US, and create momentum that will carry to other states.

Language of a Colorado Constitutional Amendment to Ban Fracking
A Constitutional Amendment to ban fracking in Colorado could be modeled after Article XXVI of the Colorado Constitution, the "Nuclear Detonations Prohibition Act". This ban on nuclear testing in Colorado was enacted as a citizens' ballot initiative in 1974. It says that nuclear testing is banned in Colorado, unless each test is approved by voters AND unless there are sufficient funds to cover any damages to anyone's property that may result from nuclear detonations.
See Article XXVI of the Colorado Constitution below:


Section 1. Nuclear detonations prohibited - exceptions

No nuclear explosive device may be detonated or placed in the ground for the purpose of detonation in this state except in accordance with this article.

Section 2. Election required

Before the emplacement of any nuclear explosive device in the ground in this state, the detonation of that device shall first have been approved by the voters through enactment of an initiated or referred measure authorizing that detonation, such measure having been ordered, proposed, submitted to the voters, and approved as provided in section 1 of article V of this constitution.

Section 3. Certification of indemnification required

Before the detonation or emplacement for the purpose of detonation of any nuclear explosive device, a competent state official or agency designated by the governor shall first have certified that sufficient and secure financial resources exist in the form of applicable insurance, self-insurance, indemnity bonds, indemnification agreements, or otherwise, without utilizing state funds, to compensate in full all parties that might foreseeably suffer damage to person or property from ground motion, ionizing radiation, other pollution, or other hazard attributable to such detonation. Damage is attributable to such detonation without regard to negligence and without regard to any concurrent or intervening cause.

Section 4. Article self-executing

This article shall be in all respects self-executing; but, the general assembly may by law provide for its more effective enforcement and may by law also impose additional restrictions or conditions upon the emplacement or detonation of any nuclear explosive device.

Section 5. Severability

If any provision of this article, or its application in any particular case, is held invalid, the remainder of the article and its application in all other cases shall remain unimpaired.


Changes to Be Made to Language

By using tried-and-true language that is already in the Constitution, we will have the benefit of knowing this language has already been tested in court. For our purposes, we would just have to:

  • Change mentions of "nuclear detonation" to "hydraulic fracturing"
  • Include an all-inclusive definition of "hydraulic fracturing"
  • Add a personal property rights provision


Send feedback and support to the Colorado Fracking Ban Initiative

For more information:

Ban Fracking in Colorado Ballot Initiative

Ban Fracking in Colorado Ballot Initiative

Ban Fracking in Colorado Ballot Initiative

Fracking = Death