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What started as Initiative 97, now Proposition 112, is an extreme setback measure that would essentially ban oil and gas development.

This new 2,500-foot setback is five times the distance requirement in current law and 26 times the surface area. Current law requires a 500-foot setback from structures, which is a 17-acre circle that is waivable by the landowner. A 2,500-foot setback is a 450-acre circle that would be non-waivable and would be required around vulnerable areas such as irrigation canals, reservoirs, creeks and intermittent streams.

According to a 2018 assessment by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), Proposition 112 would put 85% of state and private lands off limits — essentially banning energy development.

According to public reports, Boulder-based Colorado Rising the group pushing the measure — is primarily funded by two out-of-state organizations: Food and Water Watch and 350.org. Both say their ultimate goal is to end the practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) nationwide.

The ballot measure language for Proposition 112 (Initiative 97) is as follows:

Setback Requirement for Oil and Gas Development

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado:
SECTION 1. In Colorado Revised Statutes, add 34-60-131 as follows:
34-60-131. Mitigation of adverse oil and gas impacts to health and safety – buffer zones. (1)
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF COLORADO FIND AND DECLARE THAT:
(a) PROXIMITY TO OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT, INCLUDING THE USE OF HYDRAULIC
FRACTURING, HAS DETRIMENTAL IMPACTS ON PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, WELFARE, AND THE
ENVIRONMENT;
(b) SUCH IMPACTS ARE REDUCED BY LOCATING OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS AWAY FROM
OCCUPIED STRUCTURES AND VULNERABLE AREAS; AND
(C) TO PRESERVE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, WELFARE, AND THE ENVIRONMENT, THE PEOPLE
DESIRE TO ESTABLISH A BUFFER ZONE REQUIRING ALL NEW OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT IN THE
STATE OF COLORADO TO BE LOCATED AN INCREASED DISTANCE AWAY FROM OCCUPIED
STRUCTURES, INCLUDING HOMES, SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS, AS WELL AS VULNERABLE AREAS.
(2) AS USED IN THIS SECTION, UNLESS THE CONTEXT OTHERWISE REQUIRES:
(a) “OCCUPIED STRUCTURE” MEANS ANY BUILDING OR STRUCTURE THAT REQUIRES A
CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY, OR BUILDING OR STRUCTURE INTENDED FOR HUMAN OCCUPANCY,
INCLUDING HOMES, SCHOOLS, AND HOSPITALS.
(b) “OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT” MEANS EXPLORATION FOR, AND DRILLING, PRODUCTION,
AND PROCESSING OF OIL, GAS, OTHER GASEOUS AND LIQUID HYDROCARBONS, AS WELL AS
FLOWLINES AND THE TREATMENT OF WASTE ASSOCIATED WITH SUCH EXPLORATION, DRILLING,
PRODUCTION AND PROCESSING. “OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT” INCLUDES HYDRAULIC
FRACTURING.
(c) “VULNERABLE AREAS” INCLUDE 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.
(d) “LOCAL GOVERNMENT MEANS ANY STATUTORY OR HOME RULE COUNTY, CITY AND
COUNTY, CITY, OR TOWN, LOCATED IN THE STATE OF COLORADO.
(3) THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF COLORADO HEREBY ESTABLISH THAT ALL NEW OIL AND
GAS DEVELOPMENT NOT ON FEDERAL LAND MUST BE LOCATED AT LEAST TWO THOUSAND FIVE
HUNDRED FEET FROM AN OCCUPIED STRUCTURE OR VULNERABLE AREA. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS
SECTION, THE RE-ENTRY OF AN OIL OR GAS WELL PREVIOUSLY PLUGGED OR ABANDONED SHALL BE
CONSIDERED NEW OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT.
(4) A STATE OR A LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAY REQUIRE THAT NEW OIL AND GAS
DEVELOPMENT BE LOCATED A LARGER DISTANCE AWAY FROM OCCUPIED STRUCTURES OR
VULNERABLE AREAS THAN GRANTED IN (3) OF THIS SECTION. IN THE EVENT THAT TWO OR MORE
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS WITH JURISDICTION OVER THE SAME GEOGRAPHIC AREA ESTABLISH
DIFFERENT BUFFER ZONE DISTANCES, THE LARGER BUFFER ZONE SHALL GOVERN.
(5) THIS SECTION SHALL TAKE EFFECT UPON OFFICIAL DECLARATION OF THE GOVERNOR
AND SHALL BE SELF-EXECUTING.
Initiative 2017-2018 #97: Setback Requirement for Oil and Gas Development

Colorado’s current oil and gas setback requirement includes:

  • 500-foot buffer zone from homes
  • 1,000-foot buffer zone from high-occupancy buildings (schools, nursing homes)

This new 2,500-foot setback is five times the distance requirement in current law and 26 times the surface area. Current law requires a 500-foot setback from structures, which is a 17-acre circle that is waivable by the landowner. A 2,500-foot setback is a 450-acre circle that would be non-waivable and would be required around vulnerable areas such as irrigation canals, reservoirs, creeks and intermittent streams.

This extreme measure would make 85% of state and private lands off limits to oil and gas development.

If Proposition 112 is enacted into law, as a state, we stand to lose:

  • Up to 150,00 jobs — Within the energy industry and beyond (government, teachers, health care and more).
  • Up to $9 billion in tax revenue — Impacting funding for schools, parks, healthcare, road improvements, police and fire departments.
  • Up to $217 billion in economic activity
  • Millions of dollars in community support — Impacting youth and education programs, environmental initiatives, food banks and more.

Plus, all the natural gas that Coloradans use today is produced locally. This helps drive down the price of this resource that we use daily.

With ¼ of our state’s electricity and ¾ of our homes depending on natural gas, by cutting back on local production, we all face increased energy bills at home.

Learn more.

Proposition 112 would eliminate up to 150,000 jobs (43,000 in the first year alone). That includes jobs beyond oil and gas such as:

Learn more.

With the current setback requirement, Colorado oil and gas operations are concentrated in the following 5 hotspots:

  • Weld County — northeast Colorado including Greeley
  • Las Animas County — southeast Colorado including Trinidad
  • La Plata County — southwest Colorado including Durango
  • Garfield County — west of and including Glenwood Springs
  • Rio Blanco County — west of and including Meeker
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