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Colorado cities’ fracking bans could be canary in a coalmine

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Fractivist in ColoradoThree Colorado cities voted Tuesday to ban fracking, the kind of test that might be coming to states from California to North Carolina as oil and gas drilling surges from coast to coast.

The Colorado vote, happening in a state with a long history of energy development, was a trial of whether the oil and gas industry could overcome passionate opposition to the drilling practice that’s helped create an American energy boom.

Voters in Fort Collins and Boulder banned hydraulic fracturing – fracking – for at least the next five years, while a prohibition on all new oil and gas wells passed in Lafayette. A fracking ban in Broomfield fell just 13 votes short, and a recount is likely. Advocates of banning the drilling process argue that it is a threat to air and water.

Natural Resources Defense Council spokeswoman Kate Sinding said she expects local anti-fracking ballot efforts to continue to spread.

“It’s already bubbling up in California,” she said.

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