Up to 17 proposed statewide ballot initiatives dealing with the oil and natural gas industry are in line to be sanctioned to begin signature-gathering campaigns, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, which oversees the ballot qualification process.

On Wednesday the various proposals were scheduled to be vetted to ensure they meet the state’s “single subject” requirement and then assigns an official title for each measure to be be used throughout the signature-gathering and election process.

Earlier this year, Colorado groups began to prepare potential ballot measures to further regulate energy operations, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA), which has helped step up the industry’s proactive communication on oil and gas benefits in the state (see Shale Daily, March 12).

In recent weeks, Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence (Protect Colorado), was launched as an “issue committee” to defend the existing regulatory framework, which the group characterized as “best in the nation.”

Protect Colorado is funded by nearly $2 million in pledges from many of the state’s top producers, including Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Noble Energy Corp., PDC Energy, Pioneer Natural Resources Inc., SM Energy and Whiting Petroleum Corp. The group is seeking to preserve “collaborative work” with state and local officials to protect the environment and quality of life.

It is unknown which, if any, of the proposals will make it to the ballot. On Monday, Matt Lepore, head of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, predicted that at least one of the measures likely would make it to the ballot, given the level of concerns expressed in various local communities regarding the state’s robust energy development.

“There have been hearings on all the different statewide proposals over the last few weeks,” said COGA spokesman Doug Flanders. “I believe Wednesday they are hearing a larger group together.”