“You’re not welcome here.” That’s the message that cities, towns, and counties across Colorado are sending to oil and natural gas companies.
Fifteen municipal governments are supporting teenage plaintiffs in Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. A win for the plaintiffs, who are calling for stringent, unnecessary studies on the health and ecological impacts of state drilling, would compromise the COGCC’s mission of extracting fossil fuels. The Colorado Supreme Court will likely hear the case later this year.
Meanwhile, Boulder and San Miguel Counties recently filed a separate suit against Exxon and Suncor, two of the state’s largest energy companies. The suit asks these companies to pay them back for drilling that supposedly “contributed to, accelerated, and exacerbated human-caused climate change by promoting and selling huge amounts of fossil fuels.”
In response to this hostility, many oil and natural gas producers are considering leaving Colorado and taking their business to friendly, energy-rich locales like Wyoming, North Dakota, and Texas. Whiting Petroleum Corporation has already decided to ditch the Denver-Julesburg Basin to focus on North Dakota’s Bakken formation.
These defections are terrible news for Coloradans. Energy producers are creating jobs and investing in communities across the state. The industry has helped bring unprecedented levels of funding to Colorado transportation and roads, K-12 education, opioid epidemic treatment programs, rural broadband access, and the state’s teetering pension program.
Colorado is enjoying an unprecedented energy production boom thanks to hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that enables companies to extract previously inaccessible oil and natural gas from underground shale rock formations. In 2015, Colorado produced 50 percent more natural gas and four times as much crude oil as it did in 2005.
That production added $31 billion — more than the entire state budget — to our economy in just a single year.
The resurgent energy industry is a job-creating powerhouse. Converting raw energy resources into heat for our homes and fuel for our cars depends on more than just the drill operator in Fort Morgan. It also depends on the geophysicist in Golden, the sales rep in Greeley, the technician in La Junta, the graphic designer in Colorado Springs, and thousands of other workers throughout the state.
All told, 1,100 Colorado businesses are part of the oil and gas supply chain.
The industry supports nearly 233,000 jobs. And those jobs pay nearly twice as much as the national average.
The oil and gas sector also pumps about $1.6 billion of tax and royalty revenue into the state’s coffers each year. The industry contributed over $200 million annually to local school districts through property tax payments.
According to researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, oil and gas production leads to investment within the community, while “the outflow of these dollars impacts every citizen in the state through investments in education, transportation, and others.”
Colorado’s oil and natural gas companies are even pitching in to help the environment. They contribute over $100 million per year to the Department of Natural Resources, water projects, and the state’s conservation commission committed to protecting public health and the …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Business