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Inside Initiative 121, an industry-friendly measure to punish fracking-free zones

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A screen capture from the anti-fracking documentary "Dear Governor Hickenlooper."
If a Colorado county or district does not allow gas or oil production within its jurisdiction, should it be given tax revenue produced in other areas of the state that allow these companies? No, says initiative 121, an industry-driven proposal that's one of several measures focusing on fracking that could wind up on the November 4 ballot, as outlined in our current cover story, "Frack Attack."

See also: Frackers and their critics argue over proposed study of industry's health risks

If the proposal makes it to the ballot -- and it's close to collecting the 84,000-plus approved signatures required -- here's what you'll see:

Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning the distribution of oil and gas revenues administered by the state, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting a local government that prohibits oil and gas production or development from receiving any oil and gas revenues administered by the state during the prohibition; providing for the proportional reduction of such oil and gas revenues distributed to a special district not having a prohibition based upon the extent the district's boundaries overlap with the boundaries of a local government having such a prohibition; and requiring those revenues be redistributed to other local governments that allow oil and gas production or development?
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Frank McNulty is a major Initiative 121 proponent.
If Initiative 121 passes, local governments (including county, municipality, special district, other district or political subdivisions) that ban or prohibit oil and gas development will not eligible to receive state tax revenues that come from parts of the state that do not ban those activities. If the local government lifts its ban on oil and gas, its share of the tax revenue would be restored.

The initiative states that "oil and gas revenues" subject to this restriction include, but are not limited to, severance tax funds, federal mineral lease revenues, revenues from state lands, and any other state-administered funds or benefits derived from oil and gas activities.

Republican representatives Jerry Sonnenberg and Frank McNulty are the main creators of Initiative 121. Sonnenberg had previously tried to push 121 through the Colorado House as a bill.

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Jerry Sonnenberg is another co-creator of Initiative 121.
He believes that the current way revenue from oil and gas companies is shared in the state is not fair to the counties that allow those companies to produce within their borders. "It's about allowing entities that allow oil and gas production to utilize the severance taxes from that production," he explains. "It's unfair for entities that prohibit energy production to have access to those severance taxes."

If 121 passes, the county and municipal governments that lose revenue would have options for raising more money, including hiking the sales tax rate. Or they could lift their ban on oil and gas activities, in which case their share from the state would be restored. But the initiative would ban these governments from circumventing the restrictions by receiving offsetting state revenues from other sources.

Initiative 121 is just one of many fracking-related proposals that could be on the November 4 ballot. Find out more about all the initiatives on the Colorado Secretary of State website.

Have a tip? Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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8 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

So why didn't the A64 pimps think of this Extortive device for those cities / counties that opt out of commercial marijuana sales?


... oh wait! ... perhaps it's because the actual tax revenue from marijuana is so FUCKING PATHETIC.


prh47
prh47

Stay focused.

Localities have the right to find out if they're being poisoned.  They also have the right not to be poisoned.  They also have the right not to be blackmailed by Initiative 121 into being poisoned.  They do not have the right to share in the economic benefit resulting from others being poisoned.

If statewide consistency supporting fracking is what Colorado wants, then Colorado needs to do the unbiased research and the education needed to support their position, assuming their position is supportable.

fracdaddy
fracdaddy

Initiative 121 makes perfect sense. These communities don't want frac'ing in their backyard yet they still want to reap the tax benefits....Give me a break. These communities are clueless on US energy development just like 90% of the nation. Frac on 

prh47
prh47

How is Initiative 121 not blackmail?

natemarshall303
natemarshall303

Communities that ban fracking should be cutoff from all state services including access to CBI, State Patrol, etc and should have to pay hefty fines and fees to those who will lose jobs, revenue and income from oil production. Is it worth nasty fracktivist faggots? Is it SHAMEBOY, MURSEBOY AND CONGRESSMAN FAGGOTBOY?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@fracdaddy ... so lets put the Fracking sites in YOUR backyard, and YOUR children's playground.



RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

@fracdaddy Nuts!  This pathetic canard originates with the gas industry -- back up your claim, or admit you are just another empty-headed shill.

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