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Articles by John Light

John Light is a writer and journalist sometimes based in New York. He writes a lot about climate policy, both inside and outside of the U.S. Twitter: @lighttweeting

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The Colorado oil and gas industry is poised to strike a devastating blow against anti-fracking activists Tuesday. Enactment of Amendment 71, a statewide ballot initiative campaign that’s backed by the industry, will make it, in the words of the Denver Post’s editorial board, “nearly impossible” for Colorado voters to amend their state constitution to allow for local fracking bans — or, for that matter, anything else.

It’s a story worth telling in some detail, because it vividly illustrates the many obstacles well-connected and well-funded special interests can put in the way of citizens trying to oppose them. The latest battle in a multi-year campaign by a network of pro-fossil fuel groups to defend the fracking industry against local opponents, Amendment 71 would require 2 percent of registered voters in each of Colorado’s 35 state Senate districts to sign petitions for any future initiative before it could be put on the ballot. Right now, anyone who wishes to amend the state constitution must collect signatures from 5 percent of the number of voters who voted for secretary of state in the last election.

That threshold is still not always easy for grassroots... Read more

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