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A large fracking operation becomes a new part of the horizon with Mount Meeker. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado's oil industry is facing an existential battle with news announced Wednesday that an initiative significantly curtailing oil and gas production has made its way on to the state ballot for a vote this Election Day.

The big picture: Colorado, a political battleground, is America’s fifth-largest gas-producing and seventh-largest oil-producing state. Layer on top of that a growing population colliding with an increase in fracking — a controversial extraction technique for oil and gas — and it’s ripe for this controversy. Two similar efforts to get similar initiatives on the ballot in 2014 and 2016 failed.

One level deeper: The initiative would increase a buffer zone between buildings and future drilling from 500 feet to 2,500 feet, and expand it to other "vulnerable" areas, which could encompass rural areas. The industry points to a state government agency study concluding the initiative could cut off as much as 85% of the state's future energy development on non-federal lands.

What we're watching: The news impact on stocks of publicly traded companies with big footprints in Colorado, including:

  • Anadarko
  • Extraction Oil and Gas
  • Noble Energy
  • PDC Energy
  • SRC Energy

What's next: If it passes, expect it to galvanize activist environmentalists to renew calls to ban fracking in other regions of the country — and raise big issues for oil companies with substantial footprints in Colorado.

Go deeper: Colorado governor candidates oppose initiative

Go deeper

Cuomo: "No way I resign" after sexual harassment accusations

Cuomo at a Feb. 24 press conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was defiant on Sunday, stating again that he would not resign even as more former aides have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.

The big picture: Cuomo has denied all sexual harassment allegations against him and said that he "never inappropriately touched anybody." He acknowledged in a statement that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." Some of the calls for Cuomo to resign have come from within the Democratic party.

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.

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