Right now a cadre of Americans for Prosperity-Colorado activists are informing Coloradans at the doors and on the phones about four potential anti-fracking measures that could appear on our ballots in November.
Why? Because people deserve to be alerted to the manipulative techniques and deceptive language being employed by the proponents of these measures. If enough signatures are gathered and certified, up to four job-killing, land-grabbing anti-energy issues will appear on our ballots. How is their language askew? And what would be the impact if they passed? Let’s take a look.
Measure #78 is dubbed the “Mandatory Setback for Oil and Gas Development.” It calls for drilling buffer zones to be expanded from 500-foot to 2,500-foot setbacks from occupied structures. At first this might seem that bad. But think again. When you plot it out in the state’s top five producing oil and gas counties, 95% of the total surface area would be unavailable for new oil and gas development facilities or hydraulic fracturing operations. This is despite the fact that ‘fracking’ has been done safely in our state for over 40 years and has been proven to not harm drinking water. (Besides well-respected study results making this point, Governor Hickenlooper also proved it by drinking a glass of Haliburton fracking fluid a few years back and lived to tell the story.)
The real tragedy of these irrational setbacks would be the resulting economic impact. It could slap Colorado with an $11 billion loss in GDP. According to the Common Sense Policy Roundtable, 2,000-foot oil and gas setbacks could cost Colorado a loss of $214 million to $428 million in state tax revenue per year and a loss of 62,000 jobs over the next 14 years. This 2,500-foot setback proposed by Measure #78 would be even worse.
Two more measures seeking enshrinement in the Colorado Constitution this fall are flat out misleading. So called “Local Governance” dictated by Measure #40 and “Right to a Healthy Environment in Measure #63 are actually meant to override existing state laws and regulations and establish near dictatorial control over businesses and property rights owners.
When Coloradans encounter petition gatherers this summer, pushing a pen in their hand and doling out misinformation, they should remember: Your Property, Your Choice. If you own the mineral rights, you have the right to drill. Fracking is safe. Fracking has been safely done in Colorado for over 40 years and studies on drinking water continue to reveal there is no threat to our health from fracking fluid. And finally, Don’t Believe Everything You Hear. Groups that want to stop energy development in Colorado will misuse words like “setbacks” and “local control” on your ballot to deny property owners their rights.
Tamra Farah is the communications director for Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, the largest free-market grassroots organization in the state with five field offices and over 127,000 Colorado activists.