Sometimes the devil is in the details. As noted in the Loveland Reporter-Herald, the ballot initiative proposed by Protect Our Loveland (POL) not only imposes a two-year moratorium on fracking; it also calls for the study of the impacts of fracking on property values and human health.
The question is, who will be responsible for these studies and are they truly required by the ballot language? According to an attorney representing POL, the petition does not warrant definition of the study aspect. She said, “POL chose not to provide a specific definition of ‘to study’ and I think that really provides some flexibility moving forward for the study to be provided generally. The point of the moratorium is to give the City of Loveland time to really understand the impact of fracking.”
NAR has not found any specific correlation between fracking and lowered property values, although intuitively one assumes a property located near a well could be worth less to a potential buyer than a similar property located further away.* As for the effects of fracking on health, it is unlikely definitive studies will be available in the next two years for multiple reasons. In essence therefore, the moratorium’s link to “studies” is simply a stalling tactic. Emotion weighs heavily on both sides and it’s unlikely that data of any sort will change anyone’s mind. Multiple state ballot initiatives are underway that could add more barriers to the fracking process.
Note: After a late night meeting the Loveland City Council moved the date for the election up to June 24 to coincide with a statewide primary election scheduled for that day.
* Framing the Fracking Frenzy, A White Paper Report, National Association of REALTORS, 2012.