The out-of-state backers of Proposition 112 don’t care that it will destroy Colorado’s economy, kill jobs and starve schools and governments of $230 million in cash.
They know it will, but pretend it won’t. They talk about merely wanting oil and gas operations 2,500 feet from homes and schools. They make it sound reasonable and harmless. They tell us energy producers will endure a mere inconvenience.
Any doubt about the true intent of Prop 112 — to kill the oil and gas industry — can be cleared up by the fact 350.org founder Bill McKibben is stumping throughout Colorado as the rock star promoting it.
McKibben, from Vermont, was in Colorado Springs on Saturday speaking to a group of 112 campaigners.
He gave a bit of lip service to the mythical notion oil and gas operations would stay in Colorado if the proposition passes. Then he got to what he really stands for and let a few things slip.
Oil and gas “is no longer necessary, and it’s dangerous as can be.”
Win or lose on 112, he said, advocates will hurt Colorado’s oil and gas sector.
“The oil and gas industry is having to spend $40 million on you guys that they would have done something bad with,” he said. Something bad, like producing high-wage jobs? Maybe “something bad” means those tens of millions in revenues producers generate for schools.
“If this yes on 112 passes, that will send an astonishing signal,” McKibben said. “…mostly it will send a big signal to Wall Street to stay the hell away from this kind of thing (oil and gas production).”
So it’s not really about setbacks from homes and schools. It is about financially choking the industry to death. The setbacks will kill it in Colorado, as explained in a Gazette editorial that proved the 2,500-foot circles would leave oil and gas with surface rights on less than 1 percent of ground throughout much of Colorado.
But that’s not enough for out-of-state, anti-energy extremists. They want Wall Street to look at Colorado and abandon oil and gas throughout the U.S.
If that happened, the U.S. would instantly lose its newfound status as the world’s biggest oil and gas exporter and return to the days of dependence on hostile foreign regions. We would see more oil wars and lines of motorists waiting to pay soaring prices for imported fuel.
Although McKibben was more careful with his words Saturday, he has a well-documented history of leaking his agenda to kill oil and gas sooner than later.
“If Nazis were the ones threatening destruction on such a global scale today, America and its allies would already be mobilizing for a full-scale war,” he wrote two years ago in The New Republic.
McKibben told his Springs audience he plans to campaign for 112 throughout Colorado until the day before the Nov. 6 election.
“I’ll be back home in Vermont on Election Day so that I can vote for Mr. Sanders,” he said, referencing his support for Democratic Socialist Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
McKibben has long sided with Sanders in promoting federal regulations to prohibit oil and gas exploration on federal lands and to ban offshore drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic and the Atlantic and stop new leases for drilling in the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico.
Sanders has repeatedly promised to ban hydraulic fracturing, the 50-year-old process that has liberated Americans from foreign oil cartels.
On election night, after voting for Sanders, McKibben plans to return his focus to Colorado.
“I’m gonna stay up late on election night until the last returns come in from El Paso County and make sure you all have done your job,” McKibben said, explaining he would drink a bottle of Fat Tire beer to celebrate. He encouraged 112 advocates to win a “bare knuckles hard-work fight down to the wire.”
If McKibben toasts Colorado voters Nov. 6, it means he convinced them to put 147,000 people out of work and to starve governments and schools. It means he convinced them to commit economic suicide by ballot box.
None of that is a big problem for an environmental extremist living about 2,000 miles away. Here in the land of the craft beer, it means failed businesses, massive layoffs, and hardship for cities, counties, families and schools. Vote no on Prop 112 and protect Colorado’s economy from out-of-state environmental extremists.
The Gazette editorial board