Oil and gas debate: Business community urges lawmakers to respect will of voters, find common ground

February 28, 2019

Dear Governor Polis, Speaker Becker and President Garcia:

As leaders of Colorado’s business community, we strive for a healthy business environment that supports our state’s workforce, benefits its citizens, protects our environment and makes Colorado the envy of the country. As such, it’s our belief that any proposals dealing with oil and natural gas development during this year’s legislative session deserve serious and thoughtful consideration. We hope you will engage in thoughtful stakeholder meetings to find common ground in changes to the oil and natural gas regulatory framework.

First, we hope we can agree that respecting the will of voters is paramount to ongoing conversations around oil and natural gas regulation. As you know, Coloradans last fall rejected, by a 10-point margin, an extreme setback that would have driven oil and natural gas development out of Colorado. The people of Colorado voted against the extreme measure and efforts to push that type of agenda through the legislature, similarly, should be rejected in a strong, bipartisan manner.

We hope you will seek reasonable compromise and workable outcomes. Since the defeat of Proposition 112, leaders in Colorado’s oil and natural gas industry have worked collaboratively with a wide spectrum of stakeholders to increase setbacks from schools and have shown a genuine willingness to work with legislators and the Polis administration on additional constructive improvements to the state’s regulatory framework, which already is considered a national leader. This collaborative spirit should continue to serve as the model going forward.

It is critical that scientific facts drive the debate on oil and natural gas regulation. Unfortunately, activist groups have made a series of demonstrably false claims concerning health, safety and the environment. Colorado health officials have been monitoring the effectiveness of the state’s oil and natural gas regulatory framework for years and have factual answers to the questions raised by some citizens and elected officials about energy development. The facts must continue to drive the discussion.

Similarly, we respectfully request that you reject false choices on energy and environment. The oil and natural gas produced in Colorado has helped our nation lead the world in reducing carbon emissions, delivered cleaner air and helped renewable electricity sources dramatically expand by making the power grid more flexible and responsive to weather dependent sources like wind turbines and solar panels. This “all of the above” approach also has delivered major national security benefits and has strengthened our country and our allies.

We hope as you work to find commonsense solutions, you will maintain the tax base for schools and other essential services. As one of the state’s largest economic sectors, the oil and natural gas industry is one of the most significant sources of tax revenue for basic public services at the state and local level. More than $1 billion in taxes and other public revenues are generated by oil and natural gas development every year in Colorado, including more than $600 million for K-12 and higher education.

Finally, but perhaps most significantly, we ask that you support the working families in our state. In addition to contributing $31 billion to our economy, energy development is woven into the fabric of our state, supporting the livelihoods of more than 230,000 men, women and families across Colorado.

Besides economic impact, Colorado’s energy professionals contribute so much to our communities: They
are our friends, family members, neighbors, and community volunteers who give countless hours and
resources to our communities and charities. We ask that you defend the jobs of oil and natural gas
professionals just as you defend the jobs of working men and women in other sectors of our economy.
We appreciate your commitment to serving your constituents and our state. We deserve an economy –
and a Colorado – that works for all of us. We appreciate your interest in working toward a reasonable
outcome on this issue that benefits our state and our future.

oil and gas.PNG