In the News
If anti-oil and gas Initiative 97 qualifies for the ballot this year, it will hit a wall of bipartisan opposition and be defeated convincingly, Colorado business leaders said today while releasing a list of groups opposed to the ballot measure.
Initiative 97 will be defeated, if it qualifies, for a simple reason: Public and private studies of Initiative 97 have shown the voters of this state the severe economic impacts of this extreme ballot measure. State energy regulators concluded the ballot measure would ban oil and natural gas development across most of Colorado, including 85 percent of state and private land. The sweeping energy ban imposed by Initiative 97 would destroy well over 100,000 jobs and take $1 billion of tax revenue away from state and local governments, according to a study conducted by the REMI Partnership, a coalition of business groups including Colorado Concern and the Denver South Economic Development Partnership.
Boulder, out-of-state donors represent lion share of Initiative 97 funds
90% of Colorado Rising’s in-state donors from Boulder
DENVER (July 31, 2018) – With days left until petitions are due to the Secretary of State, Initiative 97’s donor report looks more like a Boulder County initiative than a statewide effort.
According to Colorado Rising’s latest campaign finance report, the committee raised more than $250,000 in July bringing its total haul to $527,000. Half of the issue committee’s contributions stem from Boulder County, while another 43% come from outside Colorado. The biggest champion for 97 appears to be Washington, DC-based Food and Water Watch, which contributed $190,000 and accounts for more than a third of the committee’s total fundraising. Food and Water Watch has campaigned for years for a statewide oil and gas development ban in Colorado. The group has even called Colorado “ground zero” in a fringe national campaign to “ban fracking everywhere.”
The geographical distribution of Colorado Rising stands in stark contrast to Colorado’s energy development and voter profile. For example, 80% of the state’s energy production comes from Weld County, yet contributions from those residents account for less than 1% of the committee’s fundraising. Additionally, Boulder County voters make up 6% of the state’s 3.8 million registered voters.
DENVER (July 9, 2018) – Colorado’s business community is more determined than ever to defeat anti-oil and gas Initiative 97, following the release of a new state analysis showing the ballot measure’s staggering impacts.
“The groups behind Initiative 97 want to drive oil and natural gas development out of Colorado, plain and simple,” said Peter Moore, Chairman and CEO of Vital for Colorado, a coalition of state business organizations including the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Concern and the Aurora Chamber of Commerce.
“The new analysis shows the Colorado energy sector would be devastated by this ballot measure – and the business community refuses to let that happen. Every sector of the state economy is important, but the energy sector plays a critical role. Local energy production supports jobs, investment, tax revenues and quite literally fuels every other sector of Colorado’s economy,” Moore said.
“There are hundreds of thousands of working families in Colorado whose livelihoods depend on local oil and natural gas production, and billions of dollars of future tax revenue are at stake,” said Newmark Knight Frank Managing Director and Vital for Colorado board member Kittie Hook. “How can we make progress on education, transportation and other challenges if the state economy is crippled and we are struggling to fund basic services?”
The attacks on the oil and gas industry continue. A CU-Boulder researcher released a study that, according to a Denver Post article, "contends that people living within 500 feet of an oil and gas facility have a lifetime excess cancer risk eight times higher than the upper limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency. What that means is that breathing the air near an oil and gas well for years at a time places people at additional risk of developing cancer above normal rates, according to the study."
To the uninitiated, the conclusions asserted by the study are frightening and have served as a renewed rallying call for those opposed to oil and natural gas development.
Thankfully, the study's conclusions don't hold water when put under scrutiny. Says who?
They say you shouldn’t talk politics, religion or money in polite company. We disagree. We believe that controversial issues deserve collaborative and innovative problem solving working to keep Colorado as one of the best places to live. The Bighorn Energy Leadership Fellows spent eight days together this fall doing exactly that over three meals a day, presentations from 31 local and international experts, and one improv comedy show. We stayed polite and disagreed without being disagreeable.
We are Coloradans from across the political spectrum, hailing from around the state, ranging from college student to near retirement, and working in a variety of sectors. We are members of the 2017 cohort of Bighorn Leadership Program: Colorado’s Energy Future. The Bighorn Leadership Program was founded in 2001 to ensure that Colorado has a deep bench of thoughtful individuals who will actively and constructively engage in the public policy arena both on the local and state levels.
Tom Steyer is back in Colorado politics. Well, actually, he never really left.
Anyone who follows politics in our state should know Steyer well. He’s the environmental activist and California hedge-fund billionaire who spent more than $7 million on a failed campaign against U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R) in 2014. He poured at least $2 million more into Colorado politics in 2016, spending big on the presidential election and another failed campaign to seize control of the Colorado state legislature.
For years, national anti-oil and gas groups have attempted a hostile takeover of Colorado politics. They have tried to turn Democrats and Republicans against one of the state’s most important economic sectors — an industry that provides energy for every business and every household across Colorado, not to mention thousands upon thousands of jobs.
The anti-oil and gas campaign gets plenty of press attention, certainly, but it’s been a failure so far. Groups like 350.org in New York and Food & Water Watch in Washington, D.C., have never succeeded in placing anti-oil and gas measures on Colorado’s statewide ballot, much less winning a statewide campaign here. With a few exceptions, they aren’t taken seriously by state lawmakers. And their so-called victories have been confined almost completely to Boulder County and its suburbs — not the best platform for a statewide campaign.
The more things change, the more they stay the same — especially if you’re in the business of running anti-oil and gas campaigns in Colorado.
In late December, a coalition of environmental activist groups announced the introduction of a statewide ballot measure targeting Colorado’s energy sector. “We’re doing this for a second time,” said campaign spokesperson Suzanne Spiegel. “We learned a ton last time, and that’s why we’re doing it again.”
The interview was unusually candid. Quite possibly, the interview subject — one of the nation’s top environmental activists — forgot he was on the record.
“New injunctions … and new bad press take a terrible toll on agency morale,” he said, describing his group’s legal and political tactics against environmental regulators. “They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed — and they are.”