Backers of two anti-fracking measures get their signatures in under the wire

Initiatives 75 and 78 would put a lot of land off limits to fracking. Expect this election to pit jobs versus the environment.

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Initiatives 75 and 78 were the target of a big “decline to sign” campaign and backers were still collecting signatures Monday morning. They showed up at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office in the final hour Monday afternoon, and they say they’ve cleared the hurdle of 98,492 to make it on the ballot.

Initiative 75 would authorize local governments to prohibit or limit oil and gas development or to impose moratoriums.

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

Together, they would put a lot of land off-limits for fracking, and the measures will face plenty of opposition from industry, elected officials and pro-fracking parts of the state. Oil and gas production accounts for about 25,000 jobs in Colorado.

Those interests have already raised more than $15 million to fight the initiatives. This is likely to be one of the most contested issues in Colorado this year.

The Secretary of State’s Office has 30 days to determine whether enough valid signatures have been collected to place the initiatives on the ballot.