Like the sequel of a creepy horror movie, the extremist group Colorado Rising resurrected its failed 2016 effort to place an anti-fracking measure on the ballot in November. How close are they to actually achieving this goal? Really close to the approximately 100,000 required signatures, if you are ask them. We have our doubts.
Since April there have been several licensed petition entities certified by the Secretary of State to circulate Initiative 97, a change to state law expanding oil and gas setback distances. Just today another entity, 350 Colorado Action, was certified to collect signatures.
Similar to what Colorado Rising tried during the last election cycle, this year’s ballot language would forbid all oil and gas exploration efforts, including drilling and fracking, within 2,500 feet of an occupied structure or a so-called “vulnerable areas.” They define an occupied structure as any building that requires a certificate of occupancy, like homes, schools, and hospitals. The “vulnerable areas” are high-occupancy locations, such as ballfields and playgrounds.
According to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee, this measure would place 85% of non-federal land in Colorado off limits to new oil and gas production, and is so extreme that none of the four Democrat candidates for governor even pledged to get behind it. Amazingly, that might not be enough for these people, as they quote studies asserting that setbacks of one mile would be more appropriate.
Colorado Rising spins outrageous lies such as oil and gas jobs “are not helping Coloradans” and oil and gas jobs are “extremely dangerous” with “deaths and injuries a common occurrence in Colorado.” In the same breath they compare it to the tourism industry. I guess they have their head in the sand about the number of people killed on Colorado rivers and mountains every year – far, far, more than in the energy industry.
And what about wages – we all know that the energy industry offers some of the highest blue collar wages in America – double the average Colorado wage. Wonder how those workers who would be displaced by this ballot measure will like working in the tourism industry. We heard that you can make $11/hour working in the restaurants for Vail Resorts (which means you can’t live anywhere near Vail Resorts).
The group also is trying to trick Coloradans into believing the energy industry, in its current form, is going away soon. They predict that fracking will become a “dead-end industry” as our economy transitions to renewable energy. They may be right – but just not in our lifetime.
Colorado has the potential to be America’s energy breadbasket, not just from oil and gas, but also from solar and wind production. Our families, our jobs, and our economy cannot afford to be toppled by the spurious claims of these know-nothing environmental activists.