On August 28, 2018, the Colorado Secretary of State certified the signatures collected for Initiative 108. The following day, the Colorado Secretary of State certified the signatures collected for Initiative 97. The certifications pave the way for what is sure to be an extra hot midterm election in Colorado, pitting oil and gas industry supporters against fracktivists.
As noted in previous blog posts, Initiative 108 is a proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution and Initiative 97 is a proposed initiated state statute. Initiative 108 is an industry-backed measure that would provide for the compensation of property owners for any reduction in value that results from state laws or regulations. Initiative 97 would increase the minimum setbacks for oil and gas development to 2,500 feet from occupied structures.
The oil and gas industry is a major employer and economic force in Colorado, but fears from last year’s Firestone accident are sure to be close to voters’ minds. Expect to see numerous public comments from the Democratic and Republican party candidates for the State’s highest office on both proposals.
Recent election cycles have seen similar measures proposed for voter approval, but both sides had been able to reach a compromise until this year. If either measure is passed by voters this November, that is not likely to be the end of conflict between the oil and gas industry and environmentalists as litigation is certain to follow.