Colorado House Majority Leader says Proposition 112 unlikely to pass

By Catherine Traywick on 10/12/2018

DENVER (Bloomberg) -- A ballot measure that could curb oil and gas development in Colorado is unlikely to pass in November, according to Colorado House Majority Leader KC Becker, a Democrat representing liberal Boulder county. Still, the measure’s success thus far will force the statehouse to take action on the issue in 2019.

Becker, who has endorsed Proposition 112, said proponents simply don’t have the funding necessary to go up against the oil and gas industry, which has pumped more than $30 million into a campaign to defeat the measure. Proponents, meanwhile, have raised $700,000.

If the effort fails, the statehouse will take up legislation to address public concern about growing oil and gas development, Becker said on an investor call with Robert W. Baird & Co. analysts. The scope of the bill remains to be seen but would likely address funding for orphan wells, air and water monitoring, greater local control over siting and potentially a setback from infrastructure, she said.

"We’ll push harder to get something done during the first half of the session" which runs from January to May, said Becker. "No one will be perfectly happy. What we want to get done is turn down the volume on this whole thing and address people’s basic concerns."

If the legislature fails to craft a political compromise on the issue, Colorado will see another anti-drilling ballot measure in 2020 -- "with a lot more money" behind it, Becker said.

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