Ten anti fracing ballot propositions remain; group hopes one or two make the Nov. ballot

Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED) has removed one of its eleven anti fracing measures from the 2016 ballot. The measure removed by the group was for a full ban of hydraulic fracturing in the state, a proposal that would have been difficult to pass considering the size of the oil and gas industry in Colorado.

According to research conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder, in 2014, the oil and gas industry generated a total economic impact of $31.7 billion, with taxes generating roughly $1.2 billion in public revenue.

“We’re going to pull the one that’s the ban, not the other ones,” Karen Dyke, listed on the state documents as the contact person for the 11 initiatives, told the Denver Business Journal. “We’re down to 10, but we still have plenty to work with.”

Tricia Olson, a CREED spokeswoman, said: “While we didn’t want to eliminate any proposals, we always knew that we could only run one to two. At this point, it’s a process of elimination to get down to one or two.”

Other proposals being presented by the group include setbacks for rigs near homes or areas of “special concern” of up to 4,000 feet. Another includes a more stringent ban on areas within 4,000 feet of these areas of “special concern.”

These areas of “special concern” would include drinking water sources, lakes, rivers, streams or streambeds, creeks, irrigation canals, riparian areas, playgrounds, sports fields, public parks, open space or amphitheaters.

Colorado, Anti fracing

Source: University of Colorado

Other proposals include proposal No. 75, which would grant local governments the right to prohibit oil and gas operations within their borders, authority that currently belongs to the state, and ballot proposal No. 63, which asks voters to approve a right to a “healthy environment,” defined as “safe and sustainable conditions for human life, including healthy air, water, land and ecological systems.” The proposal would allow anyone to file suit seeking damages for failure to “abide by or enforce the provisions of this fundamental right to a healthy environment.”

Karen Crummy, a spokeswoman for Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence, an issues committee formed by the industry in 2014 to oppose anti fracing initiatives, called all of CREED’s proposals “irresponsible.”

“They withdrew [the proposed outright hydraulic fracturing ban] because they know the vast majority of Coloradans support responsible oil and natural gas development and are against banning an entire industry,” Crummy said. “Their remaining proposals are just as irresponsible and extreme because they would still effectively ban development.”

Colorado, Anti fracing

Source: University of Colorado

Already the most stringent state for oil and gas regulation, Colorado is working to develop additional safe standards with communities

In January Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s oil and gas task force concluded a rule making process that lasted more than a year. The governor’s goal was to find compromise between the oil and gas industry, local governments, and community members. New rules approved by Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) set out guidelines for when and how local governments must be consulted in regards to oil and gas development.

Colorado, Anti fracing

Source: University of Colorado

Under the new rules, projects defined as “large scale” – having 4,000 barrels of new or existing storage, or projects with eight new wells, projects that are within 1,000 feet of 22 or more homes, or a large facility such as a school or hospital – for those projects local governments will be able to exercise greater control over the project’s development.


New research finds no connection between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water contamination

Research from the University of Cincinnati joined a growing body of literature this month in finding there was no direct correlation between fracing and drinking water contamination. “The good news is that our study did not document that fracing was directly linked to water contamination,” said Dr. Amy Townsend-Small, the head of the project.

Perhaps more interesting is that the project was funded in part by a group called Deer Creek Foundation, which has donated to anti fracing causes in the past.

“I’m really sad to say this, but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” said Townsend-Small. “They feel that fracing is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.”

102,000 jobs and $31 billion in total economic impact from Colorado oil and gas development in 2014: University of Colorado

According to the University of Colorado economic impact study, “The oil and gas industry, along with nearly all extraction industries, inherently provides substantial economic benefits due to its integrated supply chain, high wage jobs, and propensity to sell nationally and globally. Much of Colorado’s oil and gas is sold outside of the state, contributing wealth to owners, employees, governments, and schools, all of which are beneficiaries of oil and gas revenues.

“In 2014, Colorado’s upstream and midstream oil and gas industry includes drilling, extraction, support activities, pipeline construction, and pipeline transportation. The industry recorded $15.8 billion in production value, accounting for 38,650 direct jobs with average annual wages in excess of $105,000—twice the average wage of all industries in Colorado. Collectively, this industry contributed nearly $4.1 billion in employee income to Colorado households in 2014.

Colorado, Anti fracing

Source: University of Colorado

“Examining the multiplier effect of industry spending, or the churn of dollars spent along the industry supply chain and by income earners, the total economic impact of the industry was $31.7 billion in 2014, supporting 102,700 jobs and $7.6 billion in compensation.

“The oil and gas industry contributed to public revenue in 2014, primarily through property, income, and severance taxes and through public land leases and royalties. These revenue streams totaled nearly $1.2 billion in 2014. This industry is subject to taxes and assessments beyond what other industries contribute. Ad valorem taxes, for instance, are 3 times higher for oil and gas production than for commercial property within the state and 11 times higher than residential property. Oil and gas property taxes exceeded an estimated $400 million in 2014. Severance taxes paid by the industry totaled $330 million in 2014. The industry also paid $315 million in royalties, rents, and bonus to federal government in 2014, and nearly $160 million in state royalties, rents, and bonuses,” the study reported.

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