Loveland's Independent News Source

Loveland - June 25, 2014

More than one year after it began, an anti-fracking petition intended to extend a City Council imposed
moratorium for another two-years on fracking within city limits was narrowly rejected by Loveland voters
with only 9,942 voting in favor and 10,844 against.

Among the casualties of the year long saga that involved multiple court challenges, long public hearings at
city council meetings and a widening partisan division of Loveland's City Council was Loveland City Attorney
John Duval who resigned abruptly following the release of his counsel to elected officials that even if passed
they didn't need to follow the moratorium anyway (see document lower right column).

Loveland Councilman John Fogle argued from the beginning the council's previous ban and proposed
two-year extension would have little to no impact because most of the City of Loveland areas containing
fossil fuels are easily accessible from outside the city limits using the horizontal drilling methods the latest
ban was seeking to outlaw within city limits for another two years.

Loveland Mayor Cecil Gutierrez orchestrated the first emergency moratorium imposed by the Loveland City
Council which prompted the petition to extend the ban even longer when it expired in 2013.  Later, Mayor
Gutierrez voted against a council resolution to oppose the ballot measure to impose a two-year ban (
) while trying to say he really wasn't taking sides in the debate because he didn't know how he would
vote.  Gutierrez's abandonment of the issue he initiated in Loveland was the result of intense lobbying by
McWhinney's Jay Hardy, according to sources close to Gutierrez, who meets regularly with Hardy at the
25/34 Starbucks in Johnstown just across Highway 34 from Centerra east of I-25.

Previous Ban Passed By Council Majority

On May 15, 2012 the Loveland City Council voted 6-3 in favor of a 9 month "emergency" ban on approvals of
any oil or gas development within city limits.  The resolution read;  

"This is a legislative action to consider an emergency ordinance enacting a City Council Regular Meeting
May 15, 2012 nine-month moratorium on the acceptance and processing of land use applications and
other approvals related to oil and gas extraction and related operations within the City, pursuant to
Council's request at its May 1, 2012 meeting."

Mayor Gutierrez promised to pass the ban for residents of Centerra in exchange for their not opposing
McWhinney's Amendment 9 to Centerra's Master Financing Agreement (MFA) with the City of Loveland.  
Residents of Centerra interviewed by LovelandPolitics in 2012 said Gutierrez was seeking their support of
Amendment 9 (which took away their rights to public hearings for approving large commercial projects
within Centerra  
see story) on behalf of Loveland developer McWhinney.

During public comments on Amendment 9 at the May 1, 2012 Loveland Council meeting, one speaker
referred to the agreement while many others in the audience declined to speak.  They declined to speak as a
result of Mayor Gutierrez asking for support by his colleagues to have staff draft an emergency resolution on
oil and gas exploration (
the primary concern of the Centerra residents who were witnesses to McWhinney's
ongoing drilling in Centerra see stories

Ironically, McWhinney would later become the oil & gas industry's biggest influence on Mayor Gutierrez by
dissuading him from supporting the public vote on extending his own moratorium on oil and gas exploration
within the City of Loveland forcing the petition and placement of the moratorium on a public ballot.  
Contrary to local press reports that Anadarko owned mineral rights under Centerra,
McWhinney purchased
the mineral rights years prior
where they already drilled including the "High Plains Environmental" areas
local media mistakenly reported were protected.

Contrary to what many believe, Loveland was not previously targeted by radical anti-fracking groups active
in larger cities like Boulder, Ft. Collins and Longmont.  Following Gutierrez's ban on oil and gas development
in 2012 the city council passed stricter controls (than the state imposes) to try and calm the growing
anti-fracking movement in town.  It was this resolution and debate that raised the profile of the City of
Loveland within Colorado's environmental movement providing the financial resources and attorneys local
environmentalists were seeking to push their agenda.

As a result, Loveland became the epicenter of the statewide debate on fracking.  Because the City of Loveland
is considered a conservative city, many state leaders and interest groups began pouring resources into the
ballot question in the belief the outcome would greatly influence what could be proposed and passed for the
state.  One devotee of an Indian Guru and Boulder attorney trained local activists on how to raise the profile
of the issue while he appeared in court for the Loveland group Protect Our Loveland (POL).  
see story

As for the residents of Loveland, the no vote means McWhinney can now tap their mineral rights under
Centerra from within city limits.  This is significant for tax reasons as they can channel the property taxes an
increase in property value will generate back towards their own Urban Renewal District and Metro
Districts.  Had they been forced to initiate the fracking operation literally hundreds of yards to the east (but
outside city limits) than those additional tax dollars may have gone to county, school and other local entities
that rely on property taxes for revenue.
Fracking Ban Fails
Loveland Voters Narrowly Reject Fracking Ban meant to
extend the original ban passed by council in 2012
Fracking Stories Archive
    Loveland's City Clerk Reports
                June 25, 2014

"A Special Election to be held on June
24, 2014 to consider a Citizen Initiated
Petition enacting a two year
moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.  
This election was conducted as a Mail
Ballot Election. Ballot Title and results:

QUESTION NO. 1: Citizen-Initiated
Ordinance To Place A Two-Year
Moratorium On The Use Of Hydraulic
Fracturing Within The City Of Loveland
To Fully Study The Impacts Of
Hydraulic Fracturing On Property
Values And Human Health

Shall An Ordinance Be Adopted That
Places A Two-Year Moratorium On
The Use Of Hydraulic Fracturing Within
The City Of Loveland To Extract Oil,
Gas Or Other Hydrocarbons And On
The Storage And Disposal Of Its
Waste Products In Order To Fully
Study The Impacts Of Hydraulic
Fracturing On Property Values And
Human Health?

Yes    9942

No    10844
Memorandum that contributed to
Loveland City Attorney John Duval's
see blog with link to story