Fracking ads remain on the air after election

9:50 PM, Dec 10, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - The fight over fracking figured prominently in this year's Colorado elections.

Four Front Range communities passed bans or limits on the controversial method of oil and gas drilling.

Oil and gas companies spent thousands on a losing campaign against those measures, and they're still fighting on the airwaves.

If you didn't know better, you'd think there was an election right around the corner.

Television ads from Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development and the American Petroleum Institute promote a message that fracking is safe and beneficial to the economy.

Why does it feel like they're gearing up for an election?

"Well, I think 2014 will be an election year for fracking," said 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli.

Ciruli lists two main objectives for next year for the oil and gas industry:

1. Prevent more attempts to block fracking, especially a statewide ballot question
2. Protect Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado,) a supporter of fracking

"The forces in favor [of fracking] would like to have a positive political environment for him as much as possible," Ciruli said.

The danger for the incumbent Democrat is that he's doesn't see eye to eye with environmentalists on this.

"That's the base of his party," Ciruli said. "And that's one of the bases of his support is the environmental community."

Which is why Hickenlooper stood with industry leaders and environmentalists last month to support proposed rules to curb air emissions by the industry.

It's a move that adding credibility to the narrative the industry is putting out, that the practice of fracking is generally safe.

Ciruli says people who live close to fracking often have lower opinions of it, and the industry learned that spending money to fight for votes only gets you so far.

"They feel a better investment at the moment is to try and sort of move public opinion in general," Ciruli said.

The aim to take some steam out of the issue before it can come back onto center stage.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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