ELECTION: Colorado voters reject new oil and gas setback regulations

Colorado’s oil and gas industry scored a victory Tuesday when voters rejected Proposition 112, which would have imposed stricter limits on where new wells could be drilled.

Proposition 112 would have pushed new oil and gas drilling activity farther from certain open spaces, homes and other types of buildings, and waterways. That activity would have been restricted to no closer than 2,500 feet from occupied structures and areas such as parks. The existing setback regulations are 500 feet from residential properties and 1,000 feet from structures such as schools and hospitals.

“This is a great night for our state,” Colorado Petroleum Council executive director Tracee Bentley said in a statement. “Colorado plays a leading role in America’s energy revolution, and our state has spoken loud and clear that we recognize the importance of the industry to the state’s economic well-being.”

Anti-Proposition 112 groups, funded largely by oil and gas operators, raised more than $30 million to fight the measure. Opponents argued Proposition 112 was essentially a ban on new drilling and would devastate Colorado’s economy.

Supporters, who raised about $2 million for the measure, argued that increased setbacks help protect people from danger or negative health impacts posed by close proximity to oil-and-gas operations.

“Let’s be clear: the oil and gas industry spent at least $30 million to beat this measure by fear-mongering about jobs. No one in this state would be foolish enough to say that tonight’s result means that voters want an oil and gas rig closer to their homes, schools, or hospitals,” Conservation Colorado executive director Kelly Nordini said in a prepared statement.

Channel 9 News called the race before 9 p.m. Tuesday. With about 73 percent of precincts reporting as of about 9:30 p.m., 982,153 votes, or about 58 percent, had been cast against Proposition 112.

Colorado’s oil and gas industry scored a victory Tuesday when voters rejected Proposition 112, which would have imposed stricter limits on where new wells could be drilled.

Proposition 112 would have pushed new oil and gas drilling activity farther from certain open spaces, homes and other types of buildings, and waterways. That activity would have been restricted to no closer than 2,500 feet from occupied structures and areas such as parks. The existing setback regulations are 500 feet from residential properties and 1,000 feet from structures such as schools and hospitals.

“This is a great night for our state,” Colorado Petroleum Council executive director Tracee Bentley said in a statement. “Colorado plays a leading role in America’s energy revolution, and our state has spoken loud and clear that we recognize the importance of the industry to the state’s economic well-being.”

Anti-Proposition 112 groups, funded largely by oil and gas operators, raised more than $30 million to fight the measure. Opponents argued Proposition 112 was essentially a ban on new drilling and would devastate Colorado’s economy.

Supporters, who raised about $2 million for the measure, argued that increased setbacks help protect people from danger or negative health impacts posed by close proximity to oil-and-gas operations.

“Let’s be clear: the oil and gas industry spent at least $30 million to beat this measure by fear-mongering about jobs. No one in this state would be foolish enough to say that tonight’s result means that voters want an oil and gas rig closer to their…