My name is Cory Gaines, a resident of Logan County. I am writing concerning the recent petition for a rulemaking hearing you received (seen first in a Glenwood Springs Post Independent article) from Wild Earth Guardians, intended to further restrict oil and gas development. I write in advance of your consideration of of the petition on the 9th of December.
Other than using the fuels to get the necessities of daily living done for my family (e.g. running in my car to get groceries or heating my home), I am not involved in the oil or gas business. I am writing you as a concerned citizen.
What concerns me are the repeated calls by environmentalists to use any and all arms of the government to quickly, thoughtlessly, and radically change this state, doing so in ways that have the potential to make life much more difficult for families like mine.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am concerned about the environment I will leave to my daughter. I want her to experience the beauty and joy that I take in nature. I may not see it as an immediate existential threat, but I am also concerned about how we will adapt to the challenges that climate change will bring.
I do, however, want her to have the same standard of living as I enjoyed as a child. That requires acknowledging the basic fact that large-scale, proven, reliable alternatives do not yet exist. That requires acknowledging the basic fact that families like mine have to live in the here and now.
The continued and relentless attempts to quickly force moving away from fossil fuels, as opposed to a more considered approach, puts the latter at risk. I believe that making it harder to get Colorado oil and gas to market will do little to drop the overall carbon content in our air; it will only mean fewer jobs, higher prices, and fossil fuel generation in countries whose environmental standards are lower than ours.
To try and tie Colorado’s actions alone to rises in temperature is to be ignorant of the hugely complex mechanisms that govern climate on this planet. Yes, our actions as humans are driving some of the current climate change, but to look at the microcosm of one region, in one state and think that a drastic action there will also arrest temperature change is simplistic thinking at best. Showing how righteous we are by tanking entire sectors of our economy is just as foolish.
I urge all those who read this letter to join me in calling upon the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to stay within the bounds of its existing rules, bounds which are more than sufficient to protect Coloradans (another stated intent of the petition).
Colorado can indeed do its part and lead in the adaptation to climate change, but we shouldn’t be reactionary in doing so. We would all be better off by advocating for other countries to follow our example on how to responsibly extract and use fossil fuels while we fully develop renewable energy. We would all be better off if we could sell our responsibly-sourced fossil fuels. Recall that natural gas isn’t just burned in furnaces, we use it to make the fertilizer that helps us grow our food.
We have enough COGCC rules to do all of this currently.
Thank you for your time and attention.
Cory Gaines lives in Sterling on Colorado’s Eastern Plains.
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