Energy Firms Pour $20 Million Into Defeating Colorado Drilling Curbs

Oil and gas companies and their supporters have poured $20.3 million since August into a campaign to defeat a Colorado ballot initiative that would limit new drilling in populated areas, according to state financial filings released Oct. 2.

Colorado, the sixth largest and one of the fastest growing U.S. oil-producing states, votes Nov. 6 on a citizens’petition that would require new wells be at least 762 m (2,500 ft) from homes, schools and parks.

The initiative, which received 172,834 signatures to get a spot on the ballot, was aided in part by the deaths of two men last year in an explosion caused by gas leaking from an abandoned well near a Firestone, Colorado home.

The state’s oil production rose 26% in the 12 months through July as companies used higher prices to expand in the state’s Denver-Julesberg Basin.