In a surprise move, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has announced that he is contemplating calling a special session of the state legislature if voters approve a controversial ballot measure known as Proposition 112.
That proposition would prohibit the drilling of any new oil and gas wells within 2,500 feet of a residence, occupied building, or water source.
The current distance mandated by Colorado law is 500 feet.
While supporters of the idea, including most prominently a group called Colorado Rising, have argued that the health risks to individuals and communities require a greater buffer zone, industry officials and various political figures have come out against the proposition.
Both the Democrat and Republican candidates for governor, Walker Stapleton and Jared Polis, have also expressed their opposition to the proposal, as have various business groups.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has additionally forecast that if Proposition 112 passes, it would prohibit new production in around 94 percent of the state’s most productive oil and gas counties.
But at the same time, other studies have suggested that upwards of 42 percent of non-federal subsurface area in Colorado would still be available for drilling if voters approve Proposition 112.
In perhaps a sign of industry anxiety regarding Proposition 112, a record 7,300 new applications for drilling projects have gone before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission in recent weeks, the largest wave of new applications in a decade.
Hickenlooper has suggested that passage of Proposition 112 could lead to an economic recession. The Governor said he would want to talk to both the pro and anti-proposition
By Garry Boulard
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