When Coloradans go to the polls in November, they’ll decide the fate of Proposition 112 and with it the fate of our state’s economy. Proposition 112 would ban new oil and gas development in Colorado by requiring five times as much setback distance between new wells and any occupied building, compared with current rules. This would put about 85 percent of private land off-limits for producing the energy we all use every day. Here are three reasons why Coloradans should vote “no” on this dangerous, extreme measure.
1. Colorado already has some of the strictest oil and gas regulations in the country, developed after long dialogues among public health and safety experts, local communities and the industry. The current minimum setback is 500 feet from any home and 1,000 feet from schools, hospitals or other high-occupancy buildings. Many oil and gas operators establish greater setbacks as part of agreements with local communities. Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado’s chief medical officer and head of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, has said there is no evidence larger setbacks would do a better job of protecting public health.
2. Banning new oil and gas production in Colorado would result in the loss of nearly 150,000 jobs over the next 12 years, according to the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, with oil and gas accounting for 23 percent of the jobs lost. The remaining 77 percent would be in health care, construction, hotel and food services, real estate, and local government, including teachers. In addition, it’s estimated that Colorado’s economy would lose between $169 billion and $217 billion over 12 years, with state and local tax revenue reduced by $7 billion to $12 billion.
3. Both candidates for governor – Democrat Jared Polis and Republican Walker Stapleton – believe Proposition 112 is bad for Colorado. Recognizing that a strong Colorado energy industry is a bipartisan concern, both candidates are calling for a “no” vote on Proposition 112, at least in part because communities across the state receive about $1 billion annually in oil and natural gas revenues that fund state and local governments, schools and special districts, including public safety. Oil and natural gas contributed $839 million to Colorado K-12 schools in 2015 and 2016, according to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.
Our firm is proud to serve Colorado’s oil and gas industry and its people, who produce the energy used to heat and light our homes, fuel our vehicles and power our modern society. Banning new energy development in our state is a self-destructive idea with no proven benefit. I encourage Coloradans to reject this proposal by voting “no” on Proposition 112.