This week, two anti-fracking initiatives backed by deep-pocketed environmental lobbying heavyweights, such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, failed to gather enough signatures. The more draconian of the efforts, Initiative 78, would have imposed a mandatory 2,500-foot setback around all oil and gas operations -- essentially halting drilling in upward of 95 percent of Colorado's energy-rich land area.
These drastic attempts to sabotage the oil and gas industry didn't just miss by inches. They missed by a mile high and wide.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced that supporters of the two measures surpassed the required signature threshold but not by enough to compensate for the number of signatures that were rejected during a random sampling. One of the initiatives garnered 77,000 signatures out of about 98,000 needed to qualify for the ballot; the other, 79,000. Every other state initiative campaign (on issues ranging from primary election reform to cigarette taxes to assisted suicide) this year hit the mark.
Worse for eco-activists, the secretary of state reported that the petition for the de facto fracking moratorium included "several potentially forged signature lines" and has been referred to the state attorney general for investigation. At least one hired signature gatherer told KUSA-TV that homeless men in Denver filled out forms with "bulls---."
Election fraud? What election fraud? Yep, that election fraud.
Despite massive funding from such dark money donors as billionaire hedge fund manager turned climate change warrior Tom Steyer, the big green propaganda machine keeps coming up short. The enviros failed to gather enough signatures for a similar measure two years ago. Skittish Democrats, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, have distanced themselves from the eco-radicals, as the energy sector generates thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the state economy.
One thing the anti-frackers have been successful at: manufacturing self-serving excuses for their failures. They complained that their allies didn't spend enough on them. They carped that their opponents spent too much on opposing them. They whined that the secretary of state's office was "biased" against them for throwing out invalid signatures.
And they pouted when their phony attempt to con reporters into believing that their measures would get on the ballot blew up in their faces three weeks ago. A day after volunteers paraded into the secretary of state's office with dozens of boxes of signatures, an official noted that a large number of the boxes were half-full -- or half-empty.
Hypocritical save-the-planet soldiers who bemoan our dependence on foreign oil are hellbent on strangling the fracking revolution, which has doubled domestic U.S. oil output and helped drive gas prices down.
Here's what the job-killing fractivists just won't admit: Coloradans like their thriving energy sector, and they want to keep it.
Is Hillary Clinton paying attention? She has vowed to her lefty voter base that despite reaping big bucks from fossil fuel campaign finance bundlers, she will ensure that there are not "many places in America where fracking will continue to take place." It's as clear a threat as President Barack Obama's campaign vow to make electricity rates "skyrocket."
Let's hope that as the anti-fracking crackup goes in the Rockies, so goes the nation.