Oil and gas photo

Heidi Gill, with long dark long hair at center, stands with employees of Springs Fabrication in Colorado Springs. He new company, Urban Solution Group, improved separation walls for oil and gas operations.

Coloradans concerned about the working class, minorities and the economy will gather at 11 a.m. Wednesday in downtown Colorado Springs to oppose Prop 112. It is a jobs-killing initiative so extreme each candidate for governor, and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, strongly opposes it.

Show up and defend our state against the potential of sustained, widespread economic hardship. This insanity could pass if out-of-state activists confuse enough well-intentioned voters.

Prop 112 would impose 2,500-foot setbacks for oil and gas operations, killing the industry in Colorado and ending more than 147,000 jobs over the next 10 years. Nearly 75 percent of lost jobs would be outside the oil and gas industry.

Education could lose up to $400 million in funding each year. Economists estimate the state would lose up to $9 billion in annual tax revenue by 2030. Passage could cost Colorado’s economy up to $26 billion annually, and about $216 billion cumulatively between 2018 and 2030.

Prop 112 would wreak economic damage similar to banishing agriculture, tech, or tourism from the state’s economy. To visualize the significance of oil and gas to Colorado, consider the industry consumes 25 percent of office space in downtown Denver. Without those employers, employees will suffer at restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, nightclubs, and more. Residential and commercial property values will drop.

Nearly all mainstream, reputable organizations and state leaders — left, right, and center — oppose this measure.

To examine just one local ramification of Prop 112, The Gazette spoke Friday with Heidi Gill. She’s the young founder of Urban Solution Group, a promising new company that will leave Colorado almost immediately if Prop 112 passes.

Urban Solution has ties to oil and gas more direct than those of hundreds of other businesses Prop 112 would damage or destroy.

Gill graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Oregon and began a career in communications and public relations in Colorado. She saw a variety of attacks on oil and gas in 2014 and realized the industry does a poor job conveying the good it does for humanity. She associates energy production with greater life expectancy, reduced poverty, education funding, and an assortment of human advancements improving everything from transportation to medicine to space travel.

Gill’s concern led her to pursue work for a major energy production company, where she helped devise practices to mitigate the noise, light, odor, aesthetic and other environmental concerns that lead to excessive regulation.

Gill launched Urban Solution Group 18 months ago to improve the effectiveness and attractiveness of walls that surround oil and gas operations. She worked with Tom Neppl, president and CEO of Springs Fabrication in Colorado Springs, to develop and produce patented accordion-style barriers that rise from the ground.

The fast-growing company employs about 50 men and women, and Gill anticipates exponential growth in the near future.

“If 112 passes, my fiance’s freight brokerage will leave Colorado, and Urban Solution will leave Colorado,” Gill says.

The potential law also spells trouble for Springs Fabrication. The company builds equipment for the oil and gas industry, including systems that filter and separate water, sand, wax and other elements from energy extracted from the ground.

Radical activists backing 112 want voters to think the setbacks pose a minor inconvenience for wealthy oil companies that can afford to comply. Don’t be fooled. Every school, dwelling, hospital, stream, irrigation ditch, and each of a limitless assortment of arbitrarily protected areas creates a 450-acre circle in which no one can extract oil and gas. The circles leave almost no place to drill. In multiple counties, setbacks would consume 99 percent of surface acreage.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, the Democratic nominee for governor, is an environmental advocate from Boulder. He calls 112 a “divisive” measure that would “all but ban fracking in Colorado.”

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the Republican nominee, calls it an “energy ban.”

Far-left backers of 112 made their intentions clear long ago, despite deceptive efforts to characterize 112 as reasonable. Food & Water Watch wants to “ban fracking once and for all,” and “ban fracking everywhere.” The home page of 350.org, funded by left-wing billionaire George Soros, screams “Stop Fossil Fuels.”

A law to kill Colorado’s oil and gas industry overnight would harm low- and middle-income households, while devastating Colorado’s economy. No one in any business would avoid the pain.

Join Wednesday’s rally and send a message voters need to hear. Keep food on tables, keep Coloradans employed. Save our schools and small businesses. Reject poverty and protect prosperity. Vote “no” on Prop 112.

No on Prop 112 rally information: 11 a.m. Wednesday, Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, 430 Tejon St., Colorado Springs. Food, drinks and conversation. Speakers include Mayor John Suthers, state Rep. Lois Landgraf, County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf and more.

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