Colorado governor strikes deal on oil and gas measures, but advocates say it won’t end ballot wars |

Colorado governor strikes deal on oil and gas measures, but advocates say it won’t end ballot wars

Key environmental leaders were not included in Gov. Jared Polis' agreement, and some are considering future ballot questions on oil and gas

John Frank / Colorado Sun
Gov. Jared Polis speaks before signing Senate Bill 181 on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in his office at the Colorado Capitol. Looking on is Erin Martinez, right, whose husband and brother were killed when their Firestone home exploded in 2017. On the left is Martinez' daughter.
Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun

Gov. Jared Polis declared a truce in the oil and gas wars in Colorado — but once again it appears to be an illusion.

The Democrat announced Friday that he struck a far-reaching deal with the industry and environmental organizations to prevent ballot initiatives related to oil and gas in the 2020 or 2022 elections. 

“There are no real winners in these fights, and for most of this election season, it looked like we might see another round of the oil and gas ballot wars in 2020,” Polis wrote in an opinion column. “But today, I’m very proud to report that we have a path before us to make those divisive oil and gas ballot fights a thing of the past.”

The agreement means that the industry-backed Protect Colorado will end its efforts to put two questions on the 2020 ballot — one to prevent restrictions on natural gas usage and another to require economic impact statements for initiatives. 

Three other ballot initiatives — related to oil and gas regarding setbacks from drilling operations, local moratoriums and state regulatory oversight — also won’t make the ballot. But the supporters behind them said the decision reflects the difficulty of collecting the required voter signatures during a pandemic — and not any deal with the governor.

But the prediction from Polis about a longer-lasting detente appears unlikely to hold. A prominent environmental organization and like-minded advocates said they are not part of the governor’s agreement and still plan to consider ballot measures in 2022 to restrict oil and gas drilling in Colorado.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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