As Originally Reported by Chase Woodruff and David Sirota
Over the last eight years, in response to mounting public pressure to curb and regulate drilling activity, Colorado’s oil and gas industry has built a voter-outreach and -influence operation to rival, and in many ways exceed, that of either of the state’s major political parties. The industry has now reached a milestone in its spending to influence Colorado public policy: More than one in five dollars donated to all campaigns and political groups in state races in 2018 has been a direct contribution from a fossil fuel corporation. And that sum does not include the industry’s additional undisclosed corporate spending.
The vast majority of the disclosed expenditures — almost $40 million — flowed into a PAC called Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy, and Energy Independence, better known as Protect Colorado. The group is a state issue committee that is registered to oppose “safer setbacks” measure Proposition 112. Protect Colorado has also provided most of the money for the Committee for Colorado’s Shared Heritage, the group advocating for Amendment 74.