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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The oil industry and a big utility fended off three ballot initiatives that would have been bad for their businesses after pouring millions of dollars into separate efforts across a trio of Western states.

Why it matters: The industry wins are stark examples of how money-fueled negative messaging can persuade voters. It also shows how fights over energy policy have moved to the states as the issue remains mostly off the table in Washington.

The details:

  • Colorado’s proposal would have essentially banned new drilling in many parts of the state after roughly tripling the required distance between buildings and drilling to 2,500 feet, per The Denver Post.
  • Washington’s proposal would have imposed a carbon fee on large emitters to then fund a range of clean-energy initiatives, per The Seattle Times.
  • In Arizona, the proposal would have increased the state’s requirement for renewable-energy electricity to 50% by 2030, up from the current 15% goal by 2025, per local news outlet KGUN.

By the numbers: Collectively, incumbent energy companies spent nearly $100 million fighting the proposals.

  • Oil companies including Anadarko and Noble Energy, which have big footprints in Colorado, spent $30 million there.
  • BP and Chevron were among the big funders making that fight the most expensive one in Washington history.
  • Arizona’s biggest utility, Arizona Public Service, put $30 million into fighting the expansion of renewable electricity in that state, per The Washington Post.

At least two big energy-related ballot initiatives did pass though.

  • A ballot initiative in Nevada that increased its renewable-electricity requirement, which did not face much opposition, passed, per local outlet KTNV.
  • A ballot measure in Florida that bans offshore drilling in state waters passed, per Florida Today.

What’s next: The Washington and Colorado fights were largely seen as bellwethers for whether other states could pass similar policies, so losses there are a blow to any momentum.

  • This was Washington’s second time attempting to pass by ballot a price on carbon emissions. Voters also rejected the measure two years ago, and that was without much oil-industry opposition. Washington’s Democratic governor, Jay Inslee, told me earlier this summer he plans to keep trying at the state legislature.
  • The fight over fracking in Colorado has been going on for years, so don’t expect this tension to go away either. Newly elected Democratic Gov. Jared Polis had been a vocal opponent of drilling close to homes, so expect activists to take their cause directly to him. Though it's worth nothing that he did oppose the ballot measure, showing the industry’s influence in the state.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

19 mins ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.

3 hours ago - World

Coast Guard searches for 39 people after boat capsizes off Florida coast

A U.S. Coast Guard ship leaving its base in Miami Beach, Florida, in July. Photo: AP/Marta Lavandier

U.S. Coast Guard crews were searching into the night for 39 people whose boat sank off Florida's coast over the weekend after traveling from the Bahamas.

The big picture: A "good Samaritan" contacted the Coast Guard about 8 a.m. Tuesday to say they "rescued a man clinging to a capsized vessel" 45 miles east of Fort Pierce, per a tweet from the agency, which noted it was dealing with "a suspected human smuggling venture."

Scoop: Race to lead NRCC kicks off

Reps. Darin LaHood (left) and Richard Hudson. Photos: Al Drago/Getty Images (LaHood) and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) are both telling colleagues they plan to run for chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2024 cycle, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are confident they'll win the House majority back this fall, and the early jockeying to lead the caucus' fundraising apparatus is just another indicator of their optimism.