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OUR VIEW: Wish them well as they begin to drill (poll)

By: WAYNE LAUGESEN
February 20, 2012
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Crews began building an access road last week for the first Ultra Resources’ drilling site in El Paso County. They will erect a drilling rig southeast of Security in coming weeks.

Ultra, a Texas-based oil company, plans an intensive drilling operation with 2,500 oil and gas leases in the county. The company owns 18,000 acres of the Banning Lewis Ranch in Colorado Springs. Company officials hope to extract oil from Niobrara shale that is about 5,000 feet in the ground.

Meanwhile, gasoline prices are soaring and threatening to reach record highs of $4.25 a gallon in April on the heels of President Barack Obama’s refusal to allow a major oil pipeline from Canada through the United States.

High gas prices could wipe out the slow and delicate recovery Americans are beginning to notice by simply consuming discretionary income and by increasing prices on production and transportation of nearly all goods and services. Companies paying more for fuel have less money with which to expand and create jobs. Employees spending more on their commutes to and from work have less money to spend on goods, services, recreation and summer vacations. Stores must charge more for products when they cost more to ship. It is easy to see the many ways that high fuel prices ripple through our economy and depress it.

If oil exploration is wildly successful in El Paso County, it will create jobs and tax revenues that can be used to improve local schools and to pay down government debts.

It would be a gargantuan stretch to suggest that successful oil production in El Paso County could lower fuel prices. One might as well suggest that spitting into Prospect Lake would raise the shoreline.

That’s no reason to dismiss the value of what may come from the ground. Smart people don’t downplay the value of one vote, even though it’s one among millions. If we all considered voting a worthless endeavor, only a few would control our political process.

Will speculators find substantial oil in El Paso County? Vote in poll to the right. Must vote to see results.

Oil production must be viewed in similar fashion. None can afford to say “not in my backyard.” That kind of thinking has left too much of the world’s production in the hands of a few. As a result, those few have disproportionate control over the rest of the world.

Americans, including those along the Front Range of Colorado, need to accept oil and gas exploration and production as a patriotic duty. Say yes to prosperity in our own back yards.

Our entire economy depends upon a steady and abundant supply of oil, and it will for generations to come. None alive today will likely live to see the end of our dependence on oil, even if alternative fuels help taper our fossil-fuel dependence. Oil speculation in El Paso County holds the prospect of producing more oil for the common good and more prosperity to be shared with local governments and schools.

Let us all hope and pray that they safely find abundant oil in the shale beneath our land. — Wayne Laugesen, editorial page editor, for the editorial board. Friend Wayne on Facebook; follow him on Twitter.

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