Johnstown Mayor Scott James and more than a dozen other Colorado mayors, representing a group made up of 50 mayors from across the state rallied with a crowd of several hundred on the steps of the State Capitol Oct. 16 to drum up support against Proposition 112.
Complete Colorado video of the event is available here.
Proposition 112 would impose a 2,500 setback from structures and other “sensitive areas” for oil and gas drilling.
Map analysis by the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission says that 85 percent of non-federal land would be unavailable for drilling. Dan Haley, spokesman for the Commission said, “Ninety-four percent of the top five oil and gas producing counties in Colorado will be off limits to new drilling under Prop 112.
James told the crowd, “The numbers are painful. 150,000 jobs destroyed. Seven to 9 billion dollars in shortfall in state and local tax revenue for schools and other essential services. Roughly 200 billion in economic losses in the next decade, all under the guise the improvement of health and safety. Yet the former director of the Colorado department health and environment said there was no credible evidence indicating that a 2,500-foot setback would do anything to improve health or safety.”
James said that mayors of the top ten cities are part of Mayors Against Proposition 112, and that 50 mayors from “all four corners of our state” have joined the effort.
More than a dozen speakers addressed the crowd during the hour-long rally.
The Executive Director of the Colorado Petroleum Council Tracee Bentley said, “this measure is an equal opportunity threat against our communities and our economic future. Proposition 112 is reckless.”
Eaton Mayor Kevin Ross said, “we stand here with you today because 112 could be the worst thing to ever hit the state of Colorado. This industry is the lifeblood of not only of Colorado but of the nation, the world.”
James read a statement from Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, who wrote, “Proposition 112 would grievously harm our state’s economy, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and remove local communities access critical to funding for schools, public health and infrastructure. As a mayor and steadfast supporter of private property rights I vigorously oppose Prop 112.”
Ft. Lupton Mayor Zo Stieber said, “In the hardware store I work it’s hard to find a made in America label on anything. But in Weld county, in Ft. Lupton, in Colorado, we’re producing energy and the Colorado economy thrives.”
Aurora mayor Bob LeGare wrote in a statement, “I strongly oppose Proposition 112. This reckless measure would eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs both in and out of the energy industry and would cripple Colorado’s economic future.”
Evans Mayor Brian Rudy told the crowd how the industry responded when Evans was impacted by a flood.
“The year was 2013, my city was devastated by a 1,000-year flood event wiping out a third of our city, one of our two wastewater treatment plants, and putting a lot of people out of work,” said Rudy. “The first people that showed up with heavy equipment, manpower, porta-potties for our city when we didn’t have a wastewater treatment to flush our toilets, was the oil and gas industry, and our city cannot thank you enough.”
“Just as the oil and gas industry has had the backs of the City of Evans, the City of Evans has your back as well,” Rudy continued.
Greely Mayor John Gates, speaking of his city’s comprehensive plan, which depends on the revenues from oil and gas exploration said, “Proposition 112 threatens to destroy the vision created by Greely residents for our future.”
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement, “Proposition 112 will have serious repercussions on communities across the state and will irreparably harm Colorado’s economy. There are better ways to protect the health and safety of our communities while keeping our state’s economy strong. Proposition 112 is too extreme for Colorado.”
Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb spoke at the rally, saying, “I don’t like the United States being dependent on other people for oil. I believe that it’s very important for our energy independence that we are not beholden to Saudi Arabia and a lot of other countries around the world when we can have our own oil that is developed right here in the United States.”
Carl Paulson of Club 20, a coalition of individuals, businesses, tribes and local governments in Colorado’s 22 western counties said, “We’re here to voice our strong opposition to prop 112.”
“A Dolores County Commissioner said to me, ‘we would cease to be a county if 112 passes.’ Seventy-three percent of the revenue in the county comes from oil and gas,” said Paulson.
President of the RE-5J school board in Weld County, Steve McCarthy closed the rally saying, “Our families and our communities are the lifeblood of what we do. Oil and gas families are no different than any other family in this state. The impact to educational funding cannot be overstated. This will rob and steal and pillage the funding that goes to our students.”