Colorado Initiative Petition 97 and Initiative Petition 108

Colorado citizens have the powers of initiative, both Statutory and Constitutional. To get on the ballot for the November 2018 general election, proponents needed to collect 98,492 valid signatures. Two initiative petitions are pending in Colorado that deal with oil and gas operations in the state.

Proposed Initiative Petition 97 is a Statutory Amendment requiring new oil and gas wells to be 2,500 feet from any “occupied structure” and “vulnerable areas,” and would change Colorado Revised Statutes. An exemption is made for federal lands. Current setbacks require new oil and gas wells to be 500 feet from an occupied structure and 1,000 feet from a higher-occupancy building (schools and hospitals, etc.) The proponents of Initiative 97 claim to have submitted 171,000 total signatures, but the Colorado Secretary of State must review and validate the signatures before the initiative may be placed on the ballot for the November general election. The Secretary of State has 30 days to complete the review and signature-validation process. If placed on the ballot, it requires a majority vote in the November general election to become law. However, because Initiative Petition 97 is a Statutory Amendment, it may be changed or repealed by the Legislature.

Proposed Initiative Petition 108 is a Constitutional Amendment being championed by the Farm Bureau that seeks to amend the Colorado Constitution to mandate that private property owners like homeowners, businesses, farmers, and ranchers are entitled to just compensation from state or local governments taking their property. The initiative would provide that any action taken by state or local government that reduces fair market value of private property would give rise to claims for just compensation. The proponents of Initiative Petition 108 submitted more than 208,000 total signatures to the Secretary of State’s office and, as is the case with Initiative 97, the Secretary of State has 30 days to review and validate the signatures. Assuming that occurs, it will be on the ballot for the November general election. If it receives at least 55% of the vote, it will become law.