Boulder’s liberal politicians claim to respect public opinion. They care so much about majority will they support subverting the Constitution for the sake of a national popular vote in presidential elections.
Their love for public opinion smells like a steaming pile of crapocrisy after introduction of the jobs-killing Senate Bill 181. It would devastate a disproportionate number of minority and low-income households, countering multiple decisions made by majority will in elections.
The bill’s main proponents don’t really get the low-income minority household lifestyle struggle. They all represent Boulder.
The Boulder Daily Camera reported the community’s average home price surpassed $1 million in 2016. The median household income is $20,000-plus higher than the national average. Nearly 90 percent of the population is white.
Senate Majority Leader and Boulder Democrat Steve Fenberg — a former board member of the left-wing and rabidly anti-fracking ProgressNow — introduced the bill. The House co-sponsor is House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. They announced the bill alongside Gov. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, who hopes to sign it into law.
Boulder politicians do not represent hard-hat workers thankful for fracking jobs, people who work at the Suncor Energy refinery, or the men and women who transport oil and gas or work in other positions that support the industry. The community is affectionately known as “25 square miles surrounded by reality” for its culture of trust-fund heirs living San Francisco lifestyles.
Non-Boulder Coloradans have consistently and overwhelmingly rejected proposals to further regulate oil and gas. Voters recently rejected November’s Proposition 112, establishing oil and gas setbacks, by nearly 60 percent of the vote. We need reasonable regulations, and we have them. Most voters know their economic welfare suffers the moment we push energy production out of the state with excessive restrictions. Instead of living on oil and gas jobs paying $90,000 and up, they will endure unemployment or minimum wage.
Without a flourishing energy economy, underfunded schools will receive less money. Underpaid teachers will get even less. Hundreds of thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly tied to oil and gas, might be lost along with tax revenues they generate. Housing markets will suffer, and the state could go into a sustained recession. Those lowest on the economic ladder will suffer most.
Academic studies have detailed the above and more, each time activists have asked voters to increase regulations.
The Colorado Supreme Court has consistently upheld the law and ruled against unreasonable efforts to regulate energy production. The court ruled in January against Boulder teenagers, used by adult activists as props for a lawsuit, saying the law does not require the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to prioritize health and environmental concerns — often fabricated or exaggerated by anti-energy activists — as the commission’s highest priority.
Colorado has the country’s strictest regulations of energy production. Add more, and the industry will leave.
Senate Bill 181 would give far-left anti-energy activists everything voters have rejected.
The law would halt drilling applications and future applications until implementation of every rule in the 27-page bill, which could take years. It means a de facto, multi-year moratorium on oil and gas permits.
It would authorize local governments to regulate all aspects of oil and gas production, including siting, technical operations, air quality, groundwater and more. Any local government could establish the 2,000-foot setbacks voters rejected three months ago, or make them more restrictive. Under this proposal, local governments can and will make energy production impossible. The mantra will be a Boulder-style “Not in My Back Yard” for nearly every local politician.
The bill proposes changing the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission composition by eliminating the requirement for three of nine members to have “substantial experience in the oil and gas industry.” Instead, the commission would have one oil and gas expert and others with expertise in wildlife, environmentalism, soil conservation and public health.
Proponents introduced the bill Friday and plan to ram it through the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy on Tuesday.
Most Coloradans cannot afford to lose hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs, depleting schools and local governments of tax revenues. Don’t let politicians removed from and “surrounded by” reality destroy our economy by choking energy production the rest of us need.