On November 6, Proposition 112 failed 58 percent to 42 percent. The measure needed 50 percent to pass. After a contentious and expensive campaign, voters derailed the measure that posed drastic implications on future oil and gas development in the state.
Proposition 112 would have expanded existing setback requirements from 500 feet to 2,500 feet from homes, schools, hospitals, and “vulnerable areas.” If Proposition 112 passed, Colorado would have approved the country’s largest mandatory buffer zone between new wells and homes. Proposition 112 would have made future oil and gas development on nonfederal land within the state nearly impossible.
The groups in opposition of the measure like Protect Colorado, funded almost exclusively by the oil and gas industry, spent nearly 43 times more money than the groups backing the measure like Colorado Rising. Colorado Rising spokesperson Anne Lee Foster said the group was “excited that almost 800,000 Coloradans voted for a safer distance from drilling and fracking despite a massive opposition campaign.”
Dan Haley, president and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, said “we’re grateful Coloradans saw this for what it was, which was an attempt to run oil and gas out of the state.” But, Haley reiterated he wants “every Coloradan to know we are committed to developing our resources in a responsible manner that protects our environment and keeps our employees and community healthy and safe.”
A Colorado Rising representative told the media it’s too soon to say whether the group will take the setback issue back to the ballot box. But, Foster told the media “this is not going away.” Colorado Rising added we have “momentum we will continue to build upon.”
Industry executives are aware this issue did not permanently go away when voters rejected Proposition 112. The executives do not want a replay in 2020 of this year’s ballot fight. In fact, industry executives said they are willing to talk to any reasonable group about proposals to resolve this issue.
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