Officials in two of Colorado’s largest oil and natural gas producing counties are pushing a ballot measure that would repeal reform legislation on the fast track to the governor’s desk.
The proposed ballot item, initially titled the Oil and Gas Independent Regulatory Act, could be on this November’s ballot. Supporters face a deadline of April 5 to submit the measure title and final language to the Secretary of State's Office. Supporters would also need to secure more than 124,000 valid voter signatures by Aug. 5 to make the ballot.
The proposal is designed to nullify state Senate Bill (SB) 181, which sailed through the Senate and is nearing passage in the House. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign the bill into law, which would give local governments more authority over energy development and reduce the authority of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
However, former Arapahoe County Commissioner John Brackney, who is backing the ballot item with Weld County Commission Chairwoman Barbara Kirkmeyer, is confident the ballot measure will be passed.
"If the legislature passes SB 181, and the governor signs it, we think the ballot initiative will pass to repeal it, so we go right back to where we were in November 2018," Brackney said. He noted that Colorado voters last November rejected by a 57% margin Proposition 112, a measure that would have prevented some drilling in the state.
SB 181, which already has cleared two House committees with no amendments, next was slated to be heard before the appropriations panel and then would move to the House floor, where it is expected to see certain passage.