After handing in more than 196,000 signatures to the Colorado secretary of state yesterday, environmentalists have moved a step closer to enacting their extreme agenda by adding two anti-fracking initiatives on the November ballot.
One of the initiatives would strengthen the state’s “setback” rules, requiring new oil and gas development facilities to be located at least 2,500 feet from occupied structures and areas of interest, such as parks. The second would transfer regulatory control of new oil and gas development to local governments.
State officials have concluded that strengthening “setback” rules would effectively ban energy production and make much of the state off-limits to energy exploration and development:
A study by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state agency charged with promoting energy development, found that 90 percent of the states’ available surface acreage would be unavailable for oil and gas development under the proposed setback rules.
The CEO of Metro Denver Economy Development Corp. warned the initiatives would hamper business operations in the state:
“Companies simply would not be able to operate here. This initiative, were it to pass, would usher in the probable demise of the oil and gas industry in Colorado.” Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. CEO Tom Clark said in a statement.
Last month, a University of Colorado study estimated that the “setback” rules would devastate the Colorado economy. The updated rules would cost 54,000 jobs and $7.1 billion in economic activity in the first five years alone. The University also estimated that over a 15-year period, 104,000 jobs would be lost along with $14.5 billion in crucial economic activity.
Before the two initiatives make it on the November ballot, the secretary of state has until Sept. 7 to validate the signatures. In 2014, environmentalists failed to garner enough signatures to place similar anti-fracking initiatives on the ballot. Judging by the numbers presented from University of Colorado’s study, it would be in the best interest of Colorado businesses and families if these initiatives don’t find a way forward as well.