A press release from Conservation Colorado yesterday throws support behind Initiative 75, the statewide ballot measure campaign that would enshrine rights of local communities to better control oil and gas development within their boundaries:
Conservation Colorado today endorsed Initiative #75, the ballot measure entitled “Local Government Authority to Regulate Oil and Gas Development.”
Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith released the following statement:
We have long believed that local governments should have a say in decisions directly affecting their communities, including if, when, and how drilling occurs within their borders. We made our position clear when we fought for this commonsense policy during our work with the governor’s oil and gas task force, our involvement with the Fort Collins Supreme Court case, and our advocacy for similar bills in multiple legislative sessions. Since little progress has been made in these arenas, we believe there is tremendous merit in putting this measure on the ballot and letting the voters decide.
As oil and gas development creeps closer to homes and schools, it’s critical that we empower local governments to better balance energy development with public health and safety. We are proud to lend our support and resources to this effort.
Initiative 75 is a direct response to court rulings invalidating local moratoria and bans passed by a number of northern Front Range cities in recent years. Another measure that would mandate a large setback between oil and gas and other development is also headed for the November ballot, but there is a growing consensus that the 2,500 foot requirement in that initiative is too large–a de facto ban on development of oil and gas in most of the state. The fact is, there is little political appetite for a wholesale ban on oil and gas development in Colorado, and large inflexible setbacks run counter to the “local control” message that has proven successful in cities that passed their own moratoria and bans.
But giving local governments back the power they lost in court after trying to protect themselves?
This measure has a very good shot at passing.