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EDITORIAL: Anti-energy crowd proposes 12 threats to state's economy

The Gazette editorial Published: May 2, 2014 0

Extreme environmental activists would inadvertently cost Colorado tens of thousands of jobs and destroy the economy. They are circulating petitions to put 12 questions on the November ballot that would each amend the Colorado Constitution in a manner to erode private property rights and the ability of businesses to survive.

But don't take our word for it. Listen to former Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, who is also a former Colorado senator and former secretary of the interior for President Barack Obama. Salazar, a liberal Democrat and leading environmentalist, has devoted his adult life to preserving nature in the American West.

"These wrongheaded measures effectively ban oil and gas development in Colorado and will cripple Colorado's economy," Salazar said in a written statement. "I have worked for decades to improve the quality of life for Coloradans through job creation and conservation, including founding the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, and protecting our land, water and wildlife as Attorney General, (and) U.S. Senator and Secretary of Interior. Now the balanced development of our natural resources and the quality of life we have worked so hard to achieve is threatened by what will become effective bans on Colorado's oil and gas industry. We cannot afford to kill Colorado's economic recovery."

Salazar isn't the only leading Democrat who finds the 12 anti-business petitions absurd. He co-chairs opposition, organized under Coloradans for Responsible Reform, with Democrat and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

"Citizens in every community should be concerned. Even if there is no direct oil and gas development in a city like Denver, the industry still benefits the community with revenue and jobs," Webb said.

Others leading the opposition campaign are former Senate President Tom Norton and Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. The 12 proposed ballot measures are:

- 75 - Allows cities and counties "to define or eliminate the rights and powers of corporations or business entities" regardless of state or federal law.

- 82 - Allows cities and counties to "restrict the time, place or manner or oil and gas development, including but not limited to prohibitions" regardless of state law.

- 85 - Increases setbacks for new oil and gas wells to 1,500 feet.

- 86 - Increases setback for new oil and gas wells to 2,000 feet

- 87 - Increases setback for new oil and gas wells to a half-mile.

- 88 - Like 86, increases setback for new oil and gas wells to 2,000 feet.

- 89 - Allows cities and counties to enact environmental regulations more restrictive that the state's.

- 90 - Allows cities and counties to "prohibit or limit oil and gas development" with local laws and regulations "more restrictive" than the state's.

- 91 - Like 90, allows cities and counties to "prohibit or limit oil and gas operations" with local laws and regulations that are "more restrictive" than the state's.

- 92 - Like 90 and 91, allows cities and counties to "enact prohibitions or limits on oil and gas development" that are "more restrictive" than the state's.

- 93 - Like 90, 91 and 92 allows cities and counties to "limit oil and gas development" with laws and regulations that are "more restrictive" than the state's.

- 103 - Grants any Colorado citizen standing to sue over enforcement of environmental laws.

Colorado regulates oil and gas production more than any other state. We would have much better employment and general prosperity if this were not the case. Any more regulation and we'll chase the industry away. The Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder concludes that losing oil and gas production would cost Colorado 93,000 good jobs.

Do not sign these petitions. If several or all measures make the ballot, be sure to vote against them. We need more energy production, not less.

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