Colorado’s Proposition 112 Takes a Wrecking Ball to the State Budget, Children’s Education and American Energy Independence
U.S. energy independence is within reach. Considered in the international context, U.S. energy independence means accelerated economic expansion and enhanced security for our country and its allies. But with that goal so near in sight, a proposition is being considered in the state of Colorado – a longtime vanguard in the push towards American energy dominance – that would reverse the energy growth trend and shut down the majority of responsible energy production in our state.
Proposition 112 is an attack on good-paying jobs and hard-working Colorado families. It would mandate implementation of an arbitrary 2,500-foot buffer zone between occupied structures and oil and gas wells. The 2,500-foot figure has no basis in science, rather it is intended to stifle responsible energy production in Colorado. This overreaching proposal would make nearly 85 percent of nonfederal land in our state inaccessible for new oil and gas development and take 54 percent of Colorado’s total land off the table.
Responsible energy development contributes billions of dollars to Colorado’s economy and supports over 230,000 jobs, the majority of which would be wiped out if Prop 112 were to pass. In addition to the devastating impact the policy would have on Colorado, it would also threaten the United States’ quest for energy independence.
Colorado is consistently ranked as one of the healthiest states in the country. At present, there is no credible evidence that oil and gas production is contributing to a public health crisis here in Colorado. Proposition 112 is a heavy-handed solution to a nonexistent problem. State and federal regulations already amply protect the people of Colorado from any environmental degradation. Colorado’s current regulations were developed based on sound science through a collaborative local process.
Inevitably, Colorado’s GDP and its government’s coffers would take a major hit if Prop 112 passes. Priorities like robust education funding, housing support and infrastructure would be hung out to dry and more alarmingly, a sizeable portion of the state’s middle class would be forced to flee in search of job opportunities like the ones Colorado itself once provided. Proposition 112 could cost Colorado $217 billion in GDP over the next 12 years alone and result in a nearly 60 percent cut to public education funding.
A veritable crisis in the state’s public finance and local economy may well ensue should Proposition 112 be approved by Colorado voters on November 6th. But Coloradans are optimistic, realistic, sensible people. We know deep down that this proposition is a “bridge too far.” Coloradans agree that responsible energy production and environmental stewardship are not mutually exclusive goals.
More than anything, Colorado voters understand that their own interests – of continuing to thrive in one of the country’s most livable states boasting incredible recreational opportunities and robust public funding – are cast aside and trampled on by a Trojan Horse proposition such as this one. At a time when the rest of the country seems drawn towards rash rhetoric, we encourage Coloradans to take their economic futures into their own hands by voting down Proposition 112.
Scott Tipton is the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Ken Buck is the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, Doug Lamborn is the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 5th Congressional District and Mike Coffman is the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District