The campaign to ban hydraulic fracturing threatens jobs across every economic sector in Colorado, not just jobs in oil and gas, according to some of the state’s leading employer groups.
The leaders of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Concern issued the warning in a scathing Denver Post op-ed. Together, these groups represent roughly 3,850 companies with 360,000 workers and more than 100 CEOs and civic leaders from across the state, and they warn:
“Stifling energy exploration and eliminating family-sustaining jobs — through a statewide patchwork of local statutes — is the aim of a new initiative that Colorado voters could see as early as this November…
That’s a huge net that could snare thousands of responsible, productive and law-abiding businesses employing hundreds of thousands of Coloradans…
The intention is to add yet another section to Colorado’s overstuffed constitution and ban hydraulic fracturing, a safe and heavily regulated practice. The reality is that, if passed, this measure could create environmental and economic chaos from one corner of Colorado to the other.”
The op-ed also notes the oil and gas industry on its own supports more than 110,000 jobs and $29.5 billion of economic activity in Colorado. Ban hydraulic fracturing, which is a brief but essential step in the development process, and you ban oil and natural gas development outright.
When you consider the job losses, economic contraction, higher energy prices and lost tax revenue to state and local governments – about $1.6 billion of revenue, in fact – from an oil and natural gas ban, it’s no wonder that employers in Colorado have concluded that anti-fracking activism is also anti-business, anti-growth and anti-jobs activism.
But there’s another reason why the broader business community and so many employers have come out against the anti-fracking activists. It’s what these out-of-state activist groups have revealed about themselves as they escalate their campaigning from the local level to the statewide stage.
For example, check out the press release from the Pennsylvania activists who actually wrote the proposed amendment to Colorado’s constitution aimed at banning oil and gas development — and any other kind of business that runs afoul of their political views (yes, you read that right, East Coast activists think it’s perfectly fine to rewrite the constitution of our state to make a political point):
“Corporations have court-conferred constitutional privileges which they wield against communities to subjugate local aspirations that interfere with corporate agendas. The wealthy minority hiding behind the corporate form dares to use our local, state and national governments as their privatized proxies…”
Well, hello Occupy Wall Street.
Elsewhere in the same press release, a Colorado Springs-based activist called “Lotus” – that’s right, just one name – actually compares Colorado’s business community to King George III’s England during the American Revolutionary War.
Look, Colorado is a big, diverse and growing state with plenty of room for differing opinions. But are these people serious? Do they really think Colorado will continue to prosper if this kind of paranoid political ideology – anti-business, anti-jobs and even anti-representative government – gets written into the state’s constitution?
No wonder the job creators of this state are trying to stop the anti-fracking activists before things get really out of hand. They are right to be worried, and so should every Coloradan who has a job and would like to keep it.