A ballot measure proposed in Colorado would lock away $180 billion worth of oil and gas in the ground and cost mineral rights owners roughly $26 billion, according to a study commissioned by the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners.
Initiative 97, if passed, would prohibit any oil and gas operations within 2,500 feet of “vulnerable areas” throughout the state, identified as “playgrounds, permanent sports fields, amphitheaters, public parks, public open space, public and community drinking water sources, irrigation canals, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, perennial or intermittent streams, and creeks, and any additional vulnerable areas designated by the state or a local government,” according to the ballot measure.
“The biggest takeaway is the staggering dollar amount,” Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners President Neil Ray told Western Wire.
Initiative 97 is based off a similar 2016 measure and prohibits development on 85 to 99.6 percent of the surface area in Colorado’s top five most productive oil and gas counties, according to Western Wire.
Colorado Rising, an environmental group that aims to end fracking in the state, is behind Initiative 97. The organization is trying to collect 100,000 signatures by August 6 to get the proposed measure on the ballot.
“Through this initiative, we have a direct route to protect our communities from the dangers of rampant oil and gas development using fracking,” Colorado Rising President Tricia Olson said in a statement. “We are calling on all Coloradans who value clean water, clean air and the safety of their families to sign this petition for safer setbacks, and to help by circulating a petition.”
Environmentalists such as billionaire Tom Steyer have pumped money toward environmental causes and political candidates in Colorado for years trying to ban fracking within the state. The efforts have been largely unsuccessful. (RELATED: Colorado Anti-Fracking Activists Stage Another Embarrassing ‘Die-In’ Protest)
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