With news of activist groups dropping seven proposals, including one for an outright ban, from their original eleven anti-energy ballot measures, the Greeley Tribune’s editorial board has weighed in, pointing out that the remaining initiatives would still “essentially kill the oil and gas business.” From the editorial:
“Opponents claim any of the three, if passed, would essentially kill the oil and gas business — and a big chunk of the state’s economy — and we happen to agree.”
The editorial cites information provided by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) sourced from a recent University of Colorado analysis looking at the economic impact the state would face under a mandatory 2,000-foot setback. From the editorial:
“In the first five years, COGA says Colorado would lose 33,469 jobs. Within 15 years, that number would jump to 62,458 lost jobs. When it comes to personal income, that would cost Coloradans $105 billion in the next 15 years.”
In addition to thousands of lost jobs, the editorial also outlines how the ballot measures would affect the state’s ability to plan for and provide critical infrastructure improvements and dramatically shrink Colorado’s economy. Also from the editorial:
“Tax revenue would be another spot that would get hit, with an estimated $428 million lost annually.”
The editorial goes on:
“And the big one: during that 15 years the Colorado GDP would shrink by $11 billion per year for a grand total of $165 billion.”
And it should be pointed out, as EID has previously highlighted, the analysis of a 2,000-foot setback the researchers looked at is actually more modest than the 2,500-foot setback that anti-fracking activists are attempting to place on the ballot.
The group behind the initiatives, Coloradans Resisting Extreme Energy Development (CREED), may have dropped several initiatives in an attempt to sound more appealing to voters, but the group was recently caught red-handed on a conference call telling activists that the wording of one of their measures is akin to a “full-fledged” fracking ban:
“This version however has one significant difference, what we would call a floor, not a ceiling language. To lift its points, it authorizes local governments to pass regulations — prohibit, limit or impose moratoriums on oil and gas development. Of course the word prohibit means ban. This allows for a broad range of local government options within their jurisdictions from local actions to a full-fledged ban.”
While the activists behind these measures have been hit with a number of scathing editorials from news outlets around the state since announcing their proposals in December, it seems that no matter how hard they try to change the conversation, the fact remains that many in the media and business community are simply not buying into their extreme agenda that is based on debunked and misleading claims.
The Tribune summed up each of the remaining initiatives as such:
“The three proposed ballot initiatives are:
» No. 63, if approved, would give residents the right to a “healthy environment.” It would allow residents to file lawsuits against oil and gas companies for failing to maintain a healthy environment.
» No. 75 would give local governments authority over state government with regard to oil and gas development within their borders.
» No. 78 asks for a mandatory setback of at least 2,500 feet for new oil and gas development.”
So while CREED is dipping back into the old activist playbook of trying to portray their initiatives as a fight for local control and increased setbacks, the fact remains that they have the backing of national activist organizations like Food &Water Watch (F&WW), 350.org and the Sierra Club. These organizations are demanding national and statewide fracking bans, including here in Colorado. In fact, according to The Colorado Statesman, F&WW is one of the “major players behind the anti-fracking movement” and “played a key role in supporting initiatives to ban or delay fracking in local communities” at the ballot box in November 2013.
This latest editorial underscores how these groups are using local-sounding talking points in an attempt to mask their fringe national agenda to completely shut down oil and gas development across Colorado and the rest of the country. So we are reminded yet again, how the extreme ideology peddled by ban fracking activist organizations threatens working families, hurts the state economy, and ultimately has no place in Colorado.