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Kelly SloanKelly SloanMay 19, 20169min211

Among the persistent vexations in Colorado politics is the lingering and recurrent threat of ballot initiatives. These campaigns are often conceived by special interest groups to upend the balance of power in one area of law or another. Ask many who work in politics, and they will tell you ballot proposals often pose unintended consequences to the state. Colorado's oil and gas industry is a frequent, almost annual example of this phenomenon. In response, a statewide campaign involving business groups, property rights advocates, chambers, elected officials, community leaders and industry groups has emerged in the state, designed to proactively defeat anti-oil and gas initiatives — several of which are expected to appear on voter’s November ballots.   The effort, dubbed “Protect Colorado's Environment, Economy and Energy Independence,” or simply “Protect Colorado,” was forged in direct response to a number of proposed ballot initiatives aimed at upending Colorado's oil and gas industry. These include proposals this year to increase setbacks for oil and gas equipment to what many experts contend are unreasonable distances. Another measure goes even further, giving local governments the right to ban energy development within their jurisdictions altogether.