New ballot initiative could start phasing out oil and gas in Colorado as early as 2030
DENVER, Colo. (KJCT) - A new initiative that would ban new oil and gas permits in Colorado less than a decade from now could be on the ballot next year.
Progressive environmental groups are behind the push, though previous attempts at restricting oil and gas-based energy development have been rejected by voters.
Executive Director of 350 Colorado Micah Parkin heads one of many local organizations that are part of a coalition called Safe and Healthy Colorado. The coalition is behind a ballot initiative proposal that would phase out new permits for oil and gas work by 2030.
“It would help to protect our air, our land, our water quality, and also our climate by helping to phase out fracking,” said Parkin. They say they’ve submitted two version of the measure to the state legislative council since last week.
Nationwide, Colorado ranks fifth for crude oil production according to the US Energy Information Administration.
According to data from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, they approved 1,115 well permits in 2022.
To date this year, they’ve approved 414 permits.
Dan Haley, President and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association says that there’s never a slow time for his business. He’s seen initiatives like this come and go.
In 2018, Proposition 112, which would have created a 2,500 foot exclusion zone for oil and gas production around places like homes and schools was rejected by Colorado voters. Haley thinks that this initiative will be much the same.
“[Consumers] don’t want to pay more for their energy than they’re already paying right now,” said Haley. He argues the measure could cost a lot of jobs, and believes the industry is already under strict regulation by the state.
“We’re at a time now where we know we need energy. So the question becomes: Where do you want to get your energy?”
Safe and Healthy Colorado has until early August to turn in enough signatures to get the proposal on the ballot.
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