Mountain States

City, County Officials Debunk Activist Talking Points on Local Energy Bans

Ahead of the Colorado Oil and Gas Task Force meeting today, Mesa County’s Board of Commissioners passed a resolution supporting the existing statutory and regulatory framework that allows local governments to oversee oil and gas operations. The resolution centers on three major points:

  1. The economic benefits the oil and gas industry brings to Colorado, including the jobs it creates and the state and local governments it supports. All in all, the County Commissioners note that “oil and natural gas development in Colorado generated $29.6 billion for the state economy, contributed $1.6 billion in public tax revenue (equal to $817/household) and supported more than 110,000 jobs in 2012.”
  2. Colorado’s stringent regulations that hold the industry accountable, which were crafted through “collaboration with state health officials, environmentalists, local communities and industry.” These regulations include best-practice procedures that protect water, air, and land; required pre- and post-drilling water sampling and methane-emissions testing; and the mandated disclosure of the chemicals used in frack fluid.
  3. The authority that local governments already have in supervising oil and gas development, especially in negotiating with operators, drafting legally-enforceable Memoranda of Understanding that govern oil and gas operations, and, notably, “using their authority and standing in the statutorily-sanctioned Local Government Designee program to rationally, prudently and successfully have their concerns addressed.”

Given these three reasons, the Mesa County Commissioners “support the existing statutory and regulatory framework for local authority and do not believe additional clarification is necessary at this point.”

Loveland’s business and civic leaders also weighed in with an open letter to the Task Force that ran as an ad in today’s Loveland Reporter-Herald (reprinted here by the conservative website Colorado Peak Politics). After examining the facts about fracking and concluding that it is fundamentally safe, they urge other communities to follow Loveland’s lead in making informed opinions about the industry that are firmly rooted in facts. The letter is signed by Loveland Mayor Pro Tem Dave Clark, City Council member John Fogle, Loveland Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mindy McCloughan, and many others.

Mesa County’s resolution and the letter from Loveland’s leaders are important reminders of the facts in the debate about oil and gas, and we hope that facts, likewise, will guide discussion at the Task Force meetings – today, tomorrow, and in the upcoming months.

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