The City of Broomfield, CO, on Thursday became the fourth municipality in the state this month to have voters pass a ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The results, delayed since the Nov. 5 ballot, showed a 17-vote margin for the five-year ban.

The north Denver suburb of about 56,000 residents joins Boulder, Fort Collins and Lafayette in supporting anti-fracking forces in the state (see Shale Daily, Nov. 14; Nov. 6). A mandatory recount of the voting will be undertaken in the coming days.

The close vote prompted the head of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA), Tisha Schuller, to note that Broomfield voters “demonstrated that they are concerned about extreme energy bans.” She said COGA “significantly changed” the dialogue in what she described as the first round in a long-term debate.

“Round two starts today,” said Schuller. “We intend to continue until we put an end to misinformation that ban-supporters have been spreading for years.”

Opposition to the ballot measure was led by the Broomfield Balanced Energy Coalition, whose co-chair, Don Beezley, said “main street” voters in Colorado are “pushing back” against fracking bans and “standing up for sensible energy policy.”

A former state legislator and advisor to Beezley’s group, B.J. Nikkel, questioned the latest vote count. “We will vigorously review the entire process and look at all legal options for ensuring the integrity of this election,” she said.

Broomfield elected officials in September passed a comprehensive energy regulation plan for placing tight restrictions on oil and gas production. The plan was the result of city council and community work with oil and gas producer Sovereign Energy. However, the vote now in favor of Question 300 could potentially overturn that plan, Nikkel said.