Crossing aisles to find solutions like we do in Colorado isn’t always easy. It can be time consuming and requires a real desire to collaborate. It means everybody has to resist the temptation to single out groups or people or make statements that serve the interests of a few. We work this way because it results in better solutions and builds stronger working relationships.
This fall, voters will once again be asked to weigh in on a number of ballot issues (yes, we will keep writing to share information about many of those issues with you). Today, we want to focus on three that that would significantly impact our economy by effectively banning oil and gas production in Colorado.
- Initiative 78 would increase the set-back distance for new oil and gas production to 2,500 feet.
- Initiative 75 would allow cities and counties to enact more restrictive prohibitions, moratoria or limits on oil and gas development than the state.
- Initiative 63 would allow cities and counties to create vague air, water, land and ecological standards for businesses, ignoring and superseding state and federal laws.
Just this month, the Common Sense Policy Roundtable (CSPR), the Denver South Economic Development Partnership (Denver South EDP), the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and the Business Research Division at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business released a study that looked at the economic impact of Initiative 78:
- 54,000 jobs would be lost in the first five years – and up to 104,000 jobs would be eliminated over 15 years.
- Our GDP would drop $7.1 billion in the first five years – and $14.5 billion from 2017 to 2031.
- Personal income would drop nearly $11 billion over 15 years.
The effect of the proposed setbacks would be a ban on an industry and it’s one that has consequences for all of our state and our country. That’s why so many Coloradans have again joined the Chamber in opposition to these ballot issue through our campaign entity: Coloradans for Responsible Reform (CFRR).
For two decades, CFRR has served as the entity that unites civic leaders throughout Colorado to support good ideas and defeat initiatives that are bad for our economy. This year we have an impressive group leading CFRR: former U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Greeley Mayor Tom Norton, Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Schwenke and former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb. They need your help to be successful.
And this isn’t the only place we’re asking for your support this election season. We have the opportunity to proactively strengthen Colorado’s electoral system and ballot initiative process. Please join us this Thursday from 4-6 p.m. at the Chamber to learn about opening primaries and making changes to how we amend our constitution in Colorado.
Kelly Brough is president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.