Colorado’s Anti-Fracking Measure: What’s At Stake for Future Oil & Gas Production?

By Ryan Long and Chad Bourne, Ralph E. Davis Associates

On Aug. 29, 2018, the office of Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced that a setback measure for oil and gas development made the November ballot. The measure, if passed, would mandate that new oil and gas development, including hydraulic fracking be a minimum distance of 2,500 ft from occupied buildings and other areas designated as “vulnerable.” The current minimum setback of drilling and completing oil and gas wells is 500 ft from homes and 1,000 ft from schools.
The measure comes 18 months after a home explosion that occurred last year in Firestone, Colo., that killed two men. The incident was blamed on a leaky flowline from a nearby well owned by Anadarko that hadn’t been capped properly. Supporters of the initiative say there have been 13 explosions and fires since then.

Backers of Initiative 97, which include instate green groups such as Colorado Rising and Colorado Sierra Club, submitted signatures on Aug. 6, 2018. The Colorado Secretary of State confirmed that the number of required signatures met the threshold to get Initiative 97, now officially Proposition 112, on the November ballot. However, the measure is facing widespread opposition from political leaders on both sides of the aisle, as well as the oil and gas industry. Colorado governor candidates Jared Polis (D) and Walker Stapleton (R), as well as outgoing governor John Hickenlooper (D), are all on the record opposing the proposal.


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