Colorado’s 40th Governor & 50th U.S. Secretary of Interior weigh in on O & G Ballot Initiatives in Colorado

The Denver-Julesburg Basin  is the epicenter for the Oil and Gas Industry in the United States, according to two of Colorado’s leading statesmen. Former Colorado Governor Bill Owens and Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, both elected in 1998 for state office, spoke recently at a Denver Metro Chamber event on the effort by interest groups to eliminate the energy industry in Colorado through several ballot initiatives proposed for the November 2016 election.

According to the Governor and Interior Secretary, the two main ballot initiatives that will wreak the most damage to the industry is the 2,500 setback requirement and the local vs. state control initiative. “The setback requirement would take out 90% of Colorado’s land for energy use – basically eliminating the industry in the state,” stated Governor Owens, who highlighted how hydraulic fracturing has created the energy security that the United States is experiencing today.

The DJ is the third largest energy producing region in America.  Initiative 78 would require a mandatory 2,500 buffer to all new oil and gas development in Colorado. The buffer would include hydraulic fracturing structures and waterways, which according to a study commissioned by the University of Colorado Leeds School and business trade groups, “could result in the loss of up to 54,000 jobs over the first five years and up to 104,000 jobs over 15 years. The initiative could also lower Colorado’s gross domestic product by an average of $7.1 billion in the first five years and $14.5 billion between 2017 and 2031.”

The second initiative, No. 75, would transfer the authority to regulate oil and natural gas development from the state to local governments. According to Owens this hodgepodge of regulations would be damaging to Colorado’s economy. The initiative “would send a message that Colorado is no longer open for business,” according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

A citizenry disenfranchised by national politics often reflects that sentiment down the line in state and local elections. A concerned citizen need only look at New York’s anti-energy policies vs. their thriving neighbor, Pennsylvania and the energy-rich Permian Basin, to see what bad policies do to a local economy.

Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of statewide regulations, but debate over stricter energy regulations rages on as we approach November. According to both Owens and Salazar, passage of these two initiatives would most likely break the industry in our state.

Stressing that overreaching federal regulations would cripple Colorado’s energy sector, Owens and Salazar agreed that Colorado already has one of the strictest statewide regulatory environments for the industry in the nation.

Colorado and the United State’s energy supply is epic today due to the technologies of hydraulic fracturing.  Initiatives to limit the energy industry will threaten these advances and the 100-year energy supply that has come as a result of solid energy policies. home-cartasite

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