Anti-Oil-and-Gas Initiatives Fail to Make Colorado’s November Ballot

Published September 20, 2016

Colorado’s Secretary of State, Wayne Williams certified two citizens initiatives aimed at limiting oil and gas operations failed to garner enough legitimate signatures to qualify for November’s ballot.

Ballot initiatives require 98,492 valid signatures from registered Colorado voters to be certified by the state.

On August 29, Williams announced proponents of Initiative 75, which would have granted local governments the authority to limit or ban oil and gas development, and Initiative 78, which sought mandatory 2,500-foot setbacks between new oil and gas operations and schools, playgrounds, and hospitals failed to gain enough legitimate signatures to qualify for a statewide vote. Proponents turned in 107,232 signatures for Initiative 75, but a sampling of the signatures conducted by the Secretary of State’s office found approximately a quarter of the signatures invalid, leaving just 79,634 valid signatures well below the minimum needed to qualify. The same was true for Initiative 78, only 77,109 of the 106,626 names turned in were determined to be valid.

The failure of both measures to make the ballot comes after months of a costly and contentious campaign pitting some grass roots activists and a number of out of state environmental groups against the oil and gas industry and property rights groups.

Initiative 96, a proposed amendment to require ballot campaigns to collect signatures from every district in Colorado, better ensuring broad representations across the state, qualified for the November ballot, with 183,691 signatures.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., ([email protected]) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.