Below is a survey of fracking ballot measures across the country. Colorado is the only state that has fracking measures on the upcoming November ballot. But, Florida has an offshore drilling prohibition that encompasses offshore fracking, and San Luis Obispo County, California also has a fracking ban on their ballot. Michigan and Columbus, Ohio were unsuccessful in their efforts to include fracking bans on their ballot.
This measure mandates that new oil and gas development on nonfederal lands, including fracking, be at least 2,500 feet from occupied buildings such as homes, schools, hospitals, and other “vulnerable areas.” Vulnerable areas are defined as “playgrounds, permanent sports fields, amphitheaters, public parks, public open space, public and community drinking water sources, irrigation canals, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, perennial or intermittent streams, and creeks, and any additional vulnerable areas designated by the state or a local government.” Reentering abandoned oil and gas wells would be considered new development and the setback requirements would apply. The current setback requirements are 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools and hospitals.
This measure would amend the state constitution to require property owners be compensated for any decrease in the fair market value of their property caused by state laws or regulations. If amended, Article II, Section 15 of Colorado’s Constitution would read, “[p]rivate property shall not be taken or damaged, or reduced in fair market value by government law or regulation for public or private use, without just compensation.” If the local government limits oil and gas development, this amendment would likely allow an owner of mineral rights to file a takings claim for the reduced fair market value of their property.
Amendment 9 would prohibit “drilling, either for exploration or extraction, of oil or gas on all lands beneath state waters,” which would encompass offshore fracking. State-owned waters extend from the mean high water line to the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Amendment 9 is bundled with vaping bans.
Measure G (San Luis Obispo County)
Measure G would prohibit “new petroleum extraction, and all well stimulation treatments, including fracking and acid well stimulation, on all lands within the unincorporated area of the county.” Although fracking is not currently used in San Luis Obispo County, the county is worried fracking could be used in the future.
Michigan and Ohio
Measures that did not make the ballot
The Michigan Fracking Ban Initiative is not on Michigan’s November ballot. The Measure would have banned the use of horizontal fracking and prohibited the production, storage, disposal, and processing of fracking waste in the state.
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a measure meant to ban fracking in Columbus, Ohio was illegal and will not appear on the November ballot. The court reasoned that state law specifically reserves the right to regulate oil and gas activity. The measure would have “prohibit[ed] most hydrocarbon-extraction activities within the city and impose[d] strict liability on any government or corporation that violate[d] its terms.”
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