Vote Tests Future of Responsible Energy Development in Colorado
Posted November 1, 2018
As Coloradans prepare to vote on an anti-energy measure that could severely damage state natural gas and oil production and stagger the state’s economy, it’s no exaggeration to say the whole nation is watching.
Consider: Proposition 112 would make 85 percent of non-federal land in Colorado – the United States’ sixth-leading natural gas and oil producer – off limits for new energy production by increasing required setbacks or buffer zones around certain “occupied structures” (green in the map below) and “vulnerable areas” (yellow) by 400 percent over the existing requirement:
Colorado Petroleum Council Executive Director Tracee Bentley, during a recent public discussion of Proposition 112:
“Proposition 112 will economically devastate the entire state of Colorado. In the first year alone, 43,000 jobs will be at risk, and these are good Coloradan jobs. And by the way, 77 percent of that 43,000 is not even oil and gas related. We’re talking about our teachers, our nurses, our mechanics – these are our community members. This is not just an oil and gas measure, make no mistake. Second of all, this measure is absolutely not about health and safety. There’s a reason 2,500 feet was set out there. They [proponents] fully understand that 2,500-foot setbacks from the big, definitions that are in the measure absolutely will serve as an effective ban.”
See video the discussion that aired on the Aaron Harber Show:
In a report on Proposition 112 by Fox Business, Bentley talked about current protections for Coloradans under existing rules:
“We have the strictest environmental and health regulations anywhere in the country, and our companies have to abide by them – they’re law.”
Proposition 112 is opposed by current Gov. John Hickenlooper and both candidates running to succeed him. It is opposed by the Denver Post editorial board. It could stifle hundreds of thousands of Colorado jobs directly and indirectly supported by natural gas and oil – more than 230,000 of them currently. One report estimated the state could lose 100,000 jobs and more than $1 billion in tax revenue by 2030.
Once more: Given Colorado’s status as a top natural gas and oil producer, Proposition 112’s potential impacts go well beyond a single state. U.S. energy security, today and tomorrow, hinges on safely harnessing energy reserves across the country, both onshore and onshore.
Next week’s vote in Colorado is about whether safe and responsible energy development can proceed under a well-crafted state regulatory regime, producing benefits for Coloradans and the rest of the country, or whether ill-conceived restrictions will shelve that energy and its benefits.
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela have two grown children and six grandchildren.