In the fight for land use, big oil and gas companies are millions ahead in campaign funding

2 min. read
A drill rig near Piceance Creek, Colorado. (Jeff Foster/Flickr)

A drill rig near Piceance Creek, Colorado. (Jeff Foster/Flickr)

"Are you a Colorado voter?"

You’ve probably heard this a few hundred times this petition season. And while there are plenty of initiatives - from End of Life Options to something about charitable poker - fighting for space on the ballot, no two may be as contested as initiatives 75 and 78 that aim to restrict oil and gas development.

Initiative 75 proposes to authorize local governments to prohibit or limit oil and gas development or to impose moratoriums, according to the office of the Secretary of State.

Initiative 78 would implement new restrictions on oil and gas wells to ensure a setback distance of 2,500 feet from inhabited structures. 

If these measures pass, the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission estimated that 90 percent of surface acreage would be off limits to fracking. Since 25,000 people work in oil and gas, these measures are a bit controversial. The proof of that is really in the cashflow.

These two initiatives have attracted $15.46 million in contributions before they’ve even made it on the ballot, KUNC reported. Contributions have been made on both sides of the issue, though significantly more has come from oil and gas companies fighting the initiatives.

Petitioners have until Monday to submit the requisite 98,492 signatures for consideration.

Here’s the contribution breakdown.

Total raised to combat fracking: About $449,000

Total raised to protect oil and gas interests: About $15 million

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at [email protected] or

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