A Colorado ballot initiative that would ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, across 90 percent of the state could cost billions in lost economic output and more than 100,000 jobs, according to a study by economists at the University of Colorado.
The initiative would block fracking within 2,500 feet of any “occupied structures” or “areas of special concern,” placing 90 percent of the state’s area and 95 percent of its energy development off limits, according to a government report. The economic impact of the initiative would cost $14.5 billion in lost economic output and 104,000 jobs by 2031, according to the study.
“This new report confirms that the anti-fracking agenda backed by national activist groups is a losing proposition for Colorado,” Randy Hildreth, Colorado director of the pro-industry group Energy In Depth, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“That’s why the state’s business community and elected officials from both sides of the aisle are lining up against these proposals. This isn’t just an anti-fracking agenda – it’s anti-business, anti-jobs and anti-growth,” he added.
The ballot measure is part of a larger green political campaign of 11 measures proposed to the state legislature in January. The ballot measures include attempts to delay the fracking permitting process and an outright ban on fracking in Colorado.
Colorado Democrats began pushing for legislation and ballot measures to ban fracking last year, but they were pulled from the ballot at the last minute in exchange for creating a commission to study existing regulations and propose changes. So far, the state’s Democratic governor has opposed most of the proposals, as fracking and energy are a huge portion of Colorado’s economy.
Fracking has caused an economic boom in Colorado. In 2012, the oil and gas industry added $29.6 billion to Colorado’s economy, or about 10 percent of all annual economic activity in the state. The industries also supported 111,500 jobs, allowing the state to recover from the Great Recession faster than its neighbors.
The fracking industry in Colorado is expected to expand too. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) officials said in June that parts of western Colorado have upwards of 40 times more natural gas than previously believed, making the state the second largest natural gas-producing formation in the U.S.
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