Last week saw the certification of two high-profile initiatives for Colorado’s ballot in November. Initiative 97 would increase the setback requirement for oil and gas drilling to 2,500 feet from any occupied structure or government-designated vulnerable area. Initiative 108 seeks to counteract 97’s effects by allowing a right of action for private property owners to seek government compensation for a reduction in fair market value resulting from a law or policy.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission published a report in July estimating that 51 percent of Colorado’s land would be off-limits to oil and gas drilling, should Initiative 97 pass.
Taking federal land out of consideration would increase that figure to 84 percent, according to the report. And such a significant impact on oil and gas development could also chill Colorado’s real estate market, because a setback requirement also means residential property can’t exist in the same “circle” determined by the required distance.