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Colorado oil and gas activists are ready to go back to battle in 2020 if lawmakers don't act

Petition launched to urge Gov.-elect Polis to act
Posted: 5:46 PM, Dec 11, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-12 01:46:33Z

BOULDER, Colo. -- Another measure to push new oil and gas wells further away from Colorado homes, schools and businesses could be on the ballot in 2020.

Anne Lee Foster, with Colorado Rising, the group behind Proposition 112, said the group is launching an exploratory committee to look at running a similar setback measure in two years.

Prop 112, the controversial measure to increase the setback for new wells to 2,500 feet, was defeated by large margins in November by Colorado voters.

The oil and gas industry believes Colorado has some of the strictest regulations in the country and has called any large setback increase a job-killer. It was a message that seemed to resonate with voters who rejected the measure.

Despite their defeat, activists said their fight is far from over.

"We are definitely going to be undertaking the task of running another 2020 ballot initiative," said Foster. "We're not going anywhere. We will continue to fight for the health and safety of our communities."

350 Colorado also recently launched an online petition to urge Gov.-elect Jared Polis and state lawmakers to act this upcoming legislative session.

"We're calling for meaningful action to protect Colorado communities from fracking," said 350 Colorado Executive Director Micah Parkin.

The petition calls for Polis to increase oil and gas setbacks and completely overhaul the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) – the state agency in charge of regulating the oil and gas industry.

"We're also asking for a moratorium on permits to put legislation in place that is based on peer-reviewed science," said Foster.

Activists said they plan to deliver the petition to Polis the day before he takes office.

"Bring the voice of the 1.1 million voters who want safer setbacks, " explained Parkin.

Foster said they are hopeful that with Polis in office and a Democrat-controlled state House and Senate, meaningful oil and gas reform will pass at the state Capitol this upcoming legislative session.

"We are very cautiously optimistic about what will come out of the legislature," said Foster.

"If they don't, we are launching an exploratory committee to do a ballot initiative for 2020," said Parkin.

Denver7 reached out to Gov.-elect Polis. His office told us he will look at oil and gas along with many other policy issues. Right now, they are focused on the transition and getting ready for Inauguration Day.