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An oil pump jack near a home in Frederick in Weld County. Colorado voters rejected Proposition 112, which would have increased setbacks between homes and oil and gas development to 2,500 feet from the current 500 feet.

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Proposition 112, one of many Colorado ballot issues defeated by voters Tuesday, was easily the most controversial measure on the 2018 ballot if the spending against it by the oil and gas industry is any indication. The measure would have established a 2,500-foot setback between occupied buildings and new oil and gas development, up from the current buffer of 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools.

The oil and gas industry claimed the measure would have devastated the industry and the state economy; proponents claimed the setback distance was based on health and safety studies.

Voters turned back the measure resoundingly,  1,085,506 votes against to 827,122 for, with 83 percent of the vote counted.

Those who advocated against 112 celebrated its defeat Tuesday night.

“This is a great night for our state,” said Tracee Bentley, executive director of the Colorado Petroleum Council. “Colorado plays a leading role in America’s energy revolution, and our state has spoken loud and clear that we recognize the importance of the industry to the state’s economic well-being.”

“We’re incredibly grateful that Colorado voted against Proposition 112 tonight, said Neil Ray of the Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners. “Beyond the devastating economic impact, Proposition 112 would have stripped mineral owners of their property rights by placing large swaths of the state off limits for mineral development.

Kelly Nordini, executive director of Conservation Colorado, pointed to money as the cause of 112’s defeat.

“Let’s be clear: the oil and gas industry spent at least $30 million to beat this measure by fear-mongering about jobs,” she said. “No one in this state would be foolish enough to say that tonight’s result means that voters want an oil and gas rig closer to their homes, schools, or hospitals. The fact remains: the oil and gas problem in this state has not been solved.”

Chief legislative reporter

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