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Measure To Increase Setback Of Oil & Gas Wells Could Be On The Colorado Nov. Ballot

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A new initiative would bar oil and gas extraction on more than 80 percent of non-federal land in Colorado.

As The Denver Post reports, over four out of five acres of non-federal land in Colorado would be off-limits to new oil and gas drilling if voters approve a proposed ballot measure this fall.

Initiative 97 aims to widen the distance wells have to be from occupied buildings and water sources from the current 500 feet for homes and 1,000 feet for schools to 2,500 feet for all occupied structures.

Supporters of the measure cite the explosion that killed two men and destroyed a home in Firestone last year as just one danger of locating oil and gas operations close to neighborhoods.

Opponents argue that the setbacks could shut down the state’s oil and natural gas industry and lead to a loss of over 100,000 jobs.

Backers of the measure must submit 98,000 valid signatures to the secretary of state’s office by Aug. 6 for the measure to make it on the ballot.