Dead initiatives focused on setbacks

Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED), an anti fracing group in Colorado, has removed seven more of its proposed ballot initiatives this week, most of which focused on mandatory setbacks up to 4,000 feet. CREED also removed an initiative from the ballot earlier this month that which sought to ban fracing outright in the state.

Tricia Olson, a spokeswoman for CREED, said the group was in the process of selecting the strongest proposals for the 2016 ballot box earlier this month. “While we didn’t want to eliminate any proposals, we always knew that we could only run one or two,” Olson told Denver Business Journal.

Three initiatives remain

CREED has just three anti fracing ballot proposals remaining at this point:

  • RIGHT TO A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT: No. 63 would ask voters to approve a right to a “healthy environment,” defined as “safe and sustainable conditions for human life, including health 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.”
  • LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITY TO PERMIT, REGULATE, BAN OPERATIONS: No. 75, if approved by voters, would make local governments the primary authority over oil and gas operations within their borders, authority that has always been with the state. The proposal would allow local governments to adopt laws or regulations over oil and gas operations, including the authority to ban those operations from their jurisdictions.
  • 2,500 FOOT MANDATORY SETBACK: No. 78 calls for a mandatory setback of at least 2,500 feet for new oil and gas facilities, including wells that are fracture stimulated, from occupied buildings or “areas of special concern.” Areas of special concern are defined as including drinking water sources, lakes, rivers, streams or streambeds, creeks, irrigation canals, riparian areas, playgrounds, sports fields, public parks, open space or amphitheaters.

Large mandatory setbacks could cost Colorado $11 billion in lost GDP and 62,000 jobs: U. of Colorado

A study conducted by University of Colorado Boulder’s Leeds School of Business found that setbacks of 2,000 feet would likely damage the oil and gas industry enormously. According to the study, the setbacks could cut Colorado’s GDP by up to $11 billion a year, and cost up to 62,000 jobs.

A major part of the Colorado economy

Another study from the University of Colorado found that the oil and gas industry in 2014 represented a major source of income for the state, as well as supported over 100,000 jobs along its supply chain.

Colorado, Anti fracing

Source: University of Colorado

“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.

“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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