Chevron is expanding in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, raising its production guidance to 900,000 barrels of oil and gas a day by 2023. Not to be outdone, Exxon says it plans to boost its Permian output to 1 million barrels of oil and gas a day as early as 2024.

Americans don’t need Middle East oil, explained by President Donald Trump in his address to the world Wednesday. The conflict with Iran won’t cause shortages or massive spikes in prices at the pump. Oil independence for the United States vastly increases the prospects of sustained peace on earth.

It was not always like this. Most baby boomers remember gas lines of the 1970s, when the United States was at the mercy of OPEC and other Middle East oil producers. Nearly all foreign policy revolved around Americans and their allies protecting open supply lines for oil. Any serious disruption to U.S. oil imports would bring us to our knees. We fought wars, and countless innocents died for the sake of access to foreign oil.

In the 1970s and ’80s, energy independence for the United States was a pie-in-the-sky dream. Since then, oil producers have found efficient ways to frack for shale oil. The result: oil independence.

The peace ramifications of our oil independence mean nothing to far-left activists, organized as Colorado Rising, who want six ballot measures in November that would effectively ban fracking in Colorado. The cornerstone measure would establish 2,500-foot production setbacks from water, homes and other designated sites. It would leave almost no square inch of Colorado open for oil and gas extraction.

The same radical element attempted this in 2018, when voters resoundingly rejected the setbacks by trouncing Proposition 112. That was just the latest of multiple failed attempts to counter oil independence by shutting down production in Colorado, a leading energy state. Stopping Colorado’s oil and gas production would kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and throw us into a recession. Our best-among-the-states economy could quickly become the worst.

With or without these measures, Colorado is headed in the wrong direction. The 2019 Legislature passed Senate Bill 181, leaving energy producers vulnerable to the whims of local government officials who can pass byzantine restrictions on drilling. The law leaves the industry endangered by not-in-my-backyard politics, which serve the interests of most local politicians.

An unnamed oil and gas executive told the Federal Reserve the new law and never-ending ballot attacks on energy have made Colorado a “no investment” state for producers.

“Increasing regulatory pressure in Colorado has resulted in a complete loss in value of wells in that state…” the executive said in the central bank’s 2019 fourth-quarter survey. “The very hostile government there totally ignored the expressed wishes of the citizens of Colorado, which was expressed at the ballot box.”

Extreme environmentalists have no intention of stopping with Colorado, which the left views as low-hanging fruit. Activists have written goals of ending domestic oil production. If the movement succeeds, expect more war. Humans around the world will compete for Middle East oil — a basic resource they need to survive.

The Gazette editorial board


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