Initiative 75 would amend the Colorado constitution to give municipalities control over oil and gas permitting, regulating

78 would essentially stop new drilling on 90% of Colorado’s land area by making a mandatory 2500-foot setback rule part of the state’s constitution

Future of Colorado Drilling: Three Days Remain to Gather Signatures for 2016 Ballot

Source: Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission Study detailing the surface area excluded from new drilling if initiative 78 becomes a proposed amendment to the constitution and voters pass it Nov. 8, 2016

It’s a couple of caramel macchiatos from being over. At least the first phase: gathering enough valid signatures to get the proposed amendments on the November ballot. The deadline for anti-oil and gas activists to present at least 98,492 valid voter signatures—5% of the total votes cast for all candidates for Colorado Secretary of State in the last general election—is Monday, Aug. 8, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.

A global environmental activist organization, 350.org, is behind the signature gathering operation in Colorado, and is a donor, as is Greenpeace. 350.org took to social media and email today to try to push their followers to collect more signatures as the deadline looms.


Representatives of 350.org, which says on its home page that it enables “climate-focused campaigns, projects and actions in 188 countries,” sent this email just after midnight on Aug. 5:

Aug. 5, 350.org Email:  Subject – It’s time to pull out all the stops…PLEASE HELP THIS WEEKEND! Just 3 days left

“We have only 3 days left to finish collecting the 100,000 signatures needed to place the 2 critically important Yes for Health & Safety Over Fracing initiatives on our statewide ballot this November! This is our last best chance to protect our climate and our communities from the dangers of fracking. If these initiatives pass, they will make ~90% of CO off-limits to fracking – keeping huge amounts of fossil fuels in the ground and protecting our communities from permanent damage caused by fracking wells that deplete by ~90% in only 3 years and benefit very few.

“WE’RE ONLY GOING TO MAKE IT IF WE PULL OUT ALL THE STOPS RIGHT NOW!  WE NEED YOU – EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.

“PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU:

“1) Sign the petitions (find a captain near you here). Bring 5 friends with you and sign TODAY if you haven’t yet!

“2) Help gather signatures – either as a volunteer or as a paid circulator. Email a captain near you to volunteer or join the paid canvass this weekend. We need as many people working full-time this weekend as possible. Contact one of the offices listed below or Elizabeth Arnold: [email protected], 267-745-7041. Full or part-time, $13/hr. Thank you! Micah”

NOTE: Elizabeth Arnold is a well-known Philadelphia-based anti-fracing activist who protests resource development in the northeast. She made a name for herself by jumping on stage to interrupt a gubernatorial debate in 2014 with an anti-fossil fuel speech.


A one-foot touchdown run, or a Hail Mary?

Does the organization’s last minute plea for help mean that the collectors are really close to presenting 98,492 certified signatures, plus the recommended overage of at least 20,000-30,000, which poll-watchers say you need to get through the certification successfully? Or is today’s email a Hail Mary?

Wells Fargo Equity Research reported that on Bill Barrett Corporation’s (ticker: BBG) 2Q conference call today, “CEO Scot Woodall said that BBG intel indicates that signature count is around 98,000.” See Analyst Comment box in this story for more.

The Secretary of State’s office put out a press release yesterday announcing results of another ballot initiative signature collection effort. “Supporters of the ‘Medical Aid in Dying’ measure, which outlines the circumstances to get the drug prescribed [that would allow terminally ill patients to legally take their own lives], said they collected more than 160,000 signatures. The office will now conduct a 5-percent random sample of signatures to determine whether Initiative No. 145 meets the threshold to make the ballot,” the Secretary of State’s office said in the release.

The same threshold applies to the anti-oil and gas measures. If their backers hand over petitions on Monday, the Colorado Secretary of State has until Sept. 7 to validate and certify them and let the world know the result.

Changing Colorado’s constitution going forward: making the process more difficult –  petitioners for initiative 96 turned in signatures today

The Secretary of State’s office announced today that the backers of a proposal that would make it harder to amend Colorado’s constitution turned in petition signatures Friday to the Secretary of State in an effort to put the measure before voters in November.

Initiative No. 96 requires that any petition for a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment be signed by at least 2 percent of the registered electors in each of the  35 state Senate districts. The percentage of votes to pass any proposed constitutional amendment would be increased from a majority to at least 55 percent of the votes cast, unless the proposed amendment only repeals any provision of the constitution.

The Secretary of State will now conduct a 5-percent random sample of submitted signatures to determine whether the proposal meets the threshold to make the ballot. To get on the ballot, proponents need to submit 98,492 valid voter signatures.

Notable in Colorado’s constitution is that the governor’s veto power shall not apply to initiatives by the people:

“The veto power of the governor shall not extend to measures initiated by or referred to the people. All elections on measures initiated by or referred to the people of the state shall be held at the biennial regular general election, and all such measures shall become the law or a part of the constitution, when approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon, and not otherwise, and shall take effect from and after the date of the official declaration of the vote thereon by proclamation of the governor, but not later than thirty days after the vote has been canvassed. This section shall not be construed to deprive the general assembly of the power to enact any measure.”

The bottom line is that a citizen-initiated amendment to the constitution will stand unless an initiative to repeal the amendment is successfully brought to the ballot and the people vote to repeal it in the next general election–in 2018.

Analyst Commentary

Exploration & Production
Equity Research
Flash Comment

BBG: Comments On CO Regulatory
David Tameron, Senior Analyst Wells Fargo

• On Q2 earnings call (currently ongoing), BBG CEO Scot Woodall said that BBG intel indicates that signature count is around
98,000. As reminder, Initiative 78 needs 98,492 signatures from registered voters. Based on the political individuals and
signature gathering organizations we have spoken with, given signature certification failure rates, means Yes on 78
supporters likely need closer to 140,000 (lower than 160,000 number BBG also just cited on its call).
• Reminder that signature deadline is Monday August 8th at 3 PM. Assuming there are signatures submitted, then the
Secretary of State has close to a month to certify the signatures, although most indicate it would be shorter time frame than
that.
• If signatures are submitted on Monday, would mean Colorado exposed shares would be thrown into period of uncertainty
and would come under additional pressure (Colorado exposed shares have underperformed significantly last few weeks, but
particularly this week). Again, coming into this week, Street sentiment was largely that Initiative wouldn't get on the ballot.
Please see our 8/2 note titled E&P: Colorado Ballot Setback Initiative for additional color  


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