THOUSANDS OF COLORADANS SAY ‘VOTE NO ON 112’ AT RALLIES ACROSS THE STATE
For months, a wave of opposition has been building against Proposition 112. High-profile opponents include both gubernatorial candidates, Jared Polis and Walker Stapleton, and the Denver Post editorial board, which said Prop 112 “is written in such a way as to effectively ban oil and gas operations.”
But the community-level opposition to Prop 112 is also overwhelming, as shown by the turnout at dozens of rallies and other events all across the state. Energy workers, citizens and community representatives have turned out by the thousands to defend a critical sector of our economy and a major source of public revenue for schools and other essential government services.
In August, even before Proposition 112 had qualified for the ballot, more than 3,500 energy workers and supporters of the industry rallied at the State Capitol. “There are over 200,000 people in Colorado that work in the energy industry, many of which are here today,” State Representative James Coleman (D) told the rally. “When I see all of you, I don’t see blue, I don’t see red, I see hard-working Americans, hard-working Coloradans.”
“The Colorado oil and gas community is our number one financial supporter,” Ned Breslin, CEO of the Tennyson Center for Children, told those in attendance. “You’re also the number one volunteers and mentors for the kids who come through the Tennyson Center,” he added.
About 1,500 energy workers, family members, business and labor representatives and community leaders gathered at the Adams County Fairgrounds in early October to rally against Proposition 112. One of the speakers at the rally was Johnstown Mayor Scott James, who leads a coalition of mayors from more than 40 cities in opposition to Proposition 112.
Mayors Against Proposition 112 (MAP112) includes Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, Centennial Mayor Stephanie Piko, Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell, Thornton Mayor Heidi Williams and Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul. In fact, MAP112 also includes the state’s 10 largest cities.
“We have your backs,” James told the Adams County rally. “When you see all these folks here that make their living and support their families and stimulate the economy, support businesses and schools, et cetera . . . when you put a face to it, it suddenly matters,” he said.
Following the Pueblo City Council’s declaration of opposition to Prop 112, energy workers and citizens gathered along the city’s Riverwalk to discuss their concerns about the severe impacts of 112. Those impacts include the loss of almost 150,000 jobs, mostly in industries outside of oil and gas, and a massive $7 billion to $9 billion hole in state, local and school district budgets due to the sudden decline in tax revenues tied to oil and gas production.
“How are we going to invest in our kids, how are we going to move our community forward if we shut down one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state?” said Brianna Buentello, a special education teacher and Democratic state House candidate. “It seems pretty common sense to me that it’s up to every Coloradan to vote NO on Proposition 112.”
The event coincided with the annual summit of Action 22, a regional alliance of 22 counties in Southern Colorado that also opposes Proposition 112.
A crowd of 150 people attended a No on 112 rally in Colorado Springs in earlier October. “I urge all the citizens of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region to vote no,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said. “We shouldn’t be using ballot measures to ban whole sectors of our economy, and that’s exactly what Proposition 112 would do.”
In Grand Junction, more than 200 people attended a rally against Proposition 112 in early September. “Thank you for being here and thank you for standing up for the energy industry in Colorado,” State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton told the crowd as they waved “I Am Colorado Oil and Gas” yard signs.
The rally coincided with Club 20’s fall conference. Club 20, which represents 22 counties in Western Colorado, is a strong opponent of Proposition 112. “Club 20 has grave concerns about this measure as it increases setbacks to five times the distance of what is currently required and would effectively ban natural gas development in the state,” the group said in a statement ahead of the fall conference. “Colorado has some of the most stringent oil and gas regulations in the country and we have proven that we are a nation-wide leader in resource recovery without compromising the environment that makes our state so beautiful. The economic impacts of this measure would be far reaching and have significant negative consequences throughout the region.”
In Greeley, hundreds rallied outside the Weld County Courthouse in early October to oppose Proposition 112. The rally also served as the official launch of MAP112, the coalition of more than 40 Colorado mayors who oppose the anti-oil and gas ballot measure.
A week earlier, the Weld Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to oppose Proposition 112, calling the measure “a one-size-fits-all, blunt instrument that would create a de facto ban on oil and gas production.” The Weld County commissioners further declared that Proposition 112 would “cripple state and local budgets, and threaten the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of working families” and create a “hostile business climate that scares away investment from all sectors of our economy.”
An audience of 30 gathered at the historic Ute Theater in downtown Rifle to rally against Prop 112 in mid-October. The panel of speakers included Rifle Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Kasey Nispel, Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky and State Senator Ray Scott.
In September, the Garfield County Commission unanimously passed a resolution opposing Proposition 112, citing the funding impacts on basic services such as schools, libraries and hospitals. The measure will have “severe negative fiscal effects on the County’s revenue and its ability to fulfill its mission to provide health, safety and welfare services” to local residents.
In addition to the events summarized here, there have been many more No on 112 rallies and other gatherings across the state. For example, here are links to photos and other details from events in Centennial, Fort Morgan, Delta and Commerce City.
These events are further proof of the massive coalition that’s formed to defeat Proposition 112 from across the state, across the economy and across the political spectrum. The more people learn about Prop 112, the more they realize it’s not focused on residential areas at all – much more land in rural and sparsely populated areas is banned from new drilling than areas near occupied structures, according to the Hickenlooper administration’s analysis of the ballot measure.
In the end, Proposition 112 isn’t really about health and safety at all. It’s about banning oil and gas development as widely as possible across Colorado without telling voters before the election that an effective statewide ban was the plan all along. That’s not the Colorado way. VOTE NO ON 112.