Economically Destructive Initiative 97 Will Be Defeated, Business Coalition Vows

If anti-oil and gas Initiative 97 qualifies for the ballot this year, it will hit a wall of bipartisan opposition and be defeated convincingly, Colorado business leaders said today while releasing a list of groups opposed to the ballot measure.

Initiative 97 will be defeated, if it qualifies, for a simple reason: Public and private studies of Initiative 97 have shown the voters of this state the severe economic impacts of this extreme ballot measure. State energy regulators concluded the ballot measure would ban oil and natural gas development across most of Colorado, including 85 percent of state and private land. The sweeping energy ban imposed by Initiative 97 would destroy well over 100,000 jobs and take $1 billion of tax revenue away from state and local governments, according to a study conducted by the REMI Partnership, a coalition of business groups including Colorado Concern and the Denver South Economic Development Partnership.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber opposes Initiative 97 because it is a job killing measure that will cost our state, our local governments and our schools billions of dollars by effectively making 85% of our non-public lands off limits to oil and gas drilling,” said Diane Schwenke, President and CEO of the Grand Junction Area Chamber. “We are a state that already has some of the most stringent regulations on the energy industry which are developed through a public process under the purview of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and that is where rules should be made, not at the ballot box.”

This anti-energy initiative would devastate downtown Denver, where firms in the oil and natural gas sector occupy roughly five million square feet of private-sector office space, or almost one quarter of the market,” said Katie Kruger, CEO of the Denver Metro Commercial Association of Realtors. “Those firms and their workers invest billions of dollars in the Denver economy and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue, and Initiative 97 would drive those firms and energy professionals out of our state.”

During a highly competitive primary, Initiative 97 was shunned by all Democrats and Republicans running for governor,” said Robert Golden, President and CEO of the Denver South Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The purpose of Initiative 97 is clear: To eliminate the state’s oil and gas sector,” said Kevin Hougen, president and CEO of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce. “And Colorado’s business community will not rest until this economically destructive ballot measure is defeated.”

As we have seen in past years, a diverse coalition of business, labor and political organizations will continue to stand firm against the Boulder activists and out-of-state groups trying to choke out an entire industry and the livelihoods that depend on it,” said Peter Moore, a Denver business attorney and the President and CEO of Vital for Colorado. “If this measure qualifies for the ballot, more than 20 organizations have already declared their opposition to Initiative 97 and we have only just begun to fight.”

The list of organizations and elected officials opposed to Initiative 97 includes:


  • Denver Metro Commercial Association of REALTORS
  • Colorado Homebuilders Association
  • Colorado Bankers Association
  • Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of Colorado
  • Mechanical Service Contractors Association of Colorado 
  • National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau, Colorado Chapter
  • Colorado Farm Bureau
  • Northwest Douglas County Economic Development Corp.
  • Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs
  • Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Colorado
  • South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce
  • Metro North Chamber of Commerce
  • Highlands Ranch Chamber of Commerce
  • Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Business Roundtable
  • Colorado Apartment Association
  • Pikes Peak Association of REALTORS
  • Vital for Colorado
  • Colorado Alliance of Mineral and Royalty Owners

Elected Officials

  • State Representative Lois Landgraf
  • State Representative Dave Williams
  • State Representative Larry Liston
  • State Representative Shane Sandridge
  • State Representative Paul Lundeen
  • Former House Majority Leader Amy Stephens
  • Former State Representative Rob Fairbank
  • Former State Representative Spencer Swalm
  • Former State Representative Frank Defillipo
  • State Senator Bob Gardner
  • State Senator Jack Tate
  • State Senator Owen Hill
  • State Senator and Joint Budget Committee Member Kent Lambert
  • Former Mayor of Centennial Cathy Noon
  • Former State Senator Bernie Herpin
  • Former State Senator Andy McElhany
  • Former State Senator Nancy Spence
  • Former State Representative and Candidate for HD 17, Kit Roupe
  • Arapahoe County Commissioner Jeff Baker
  • El Paso County Commissioner Longinus Gonzalez
  • El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller
  • El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton
  • El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf
  • El Paso County Commissioner Dennis Hisey
  • Former Douglas County Commissioner Mary Michael Cooke
  • Former Greeley Mayor Tom Norton
  • Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers
  • Colorado Springs City Councilman Andy Pico
  • Colorado Springs City Councilman Tom Strand
  • Colorado Springs City Councilman Don Knight
  • Colorado Springs City Councilman Merv Bennett
  • Former Douglas County School Board President Kevin Larsen

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