The oil and gas initiative with all the drama around it has made the November ballot

An oil and gas operation, March 9, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

An oil and gas operation, March 9, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The oil-and-gas ballot initiative that many elected officials won’t touch with a 2,500-foot pole just made Colorado’s November 2018 ballot.

Initiative 97 would mandate 2,500-foot setbacks from homes and other “vulnerable” areas for new oil and gas development, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced that it qualified easily.

One study released in July suggested that if Initiative 97 passed, 85 percent of Colorado’s non-federal land would be off-limits for oil and gas development.

Colorado Rising, the group pushing the initiative, said in a press release that the proposed setback distance is based in science, and is close to the standard evacuation radius for leaks and spills.

Both major-party candidates for governor, Rep. Jared Polis and State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, oppose the measure, as does current Gov. John Hickenlooper. There’s been no shortage of drama around the process of getting it on the ballot, including that time somebody took a bunch of the petitions out of the state and the people who followed petition-gatherers around with giant protest signs.

“We are excited that the democratic process has prevailed despite the oil and gas industry’s blatant attempts at stopping this important issue from reaching voters in November,” Anne Lee Foster said in the Colorado Rising press release.