Letter: Purpose of Prop. 112 is to protect public health and safety
Misinformation abounds in the ads we’ve seen attacking Proposition 112, the oil and gas drilling and fracking 2,500 foot setback initiative sponsored by Colorado Rising. Protect Colorado, the very well-financed political action committee for oil and gas, is trying to convince us setbacks would ruin the oil and gas industry and put 100,000 to 150,000 people out of work in Colorado.
That’s ridiculous for a number of reasons. There are currently 50,000 wells operating in this state and they’re not going anywhere. Drilling and fracking will go on. There are all kinds of open spaces in Colorado, but the industry likes to drill near dwellings because the infrastructure is already there.
Additionally, with horizontal drilling, the industry doesn’t have to drill near people. Yes, these measures are expensive and the industry is losing money, but that’s their own fault for not switching to renewable’s when they had the chance.
The projected number of jobs lost isn’t even close. The oil and gas industry employs 30,000 workers statewide at the most, and even that number is inflated. With automation, one worker can sit at a control panel and run an entire well pad, and the scuttlebutt is oil and gas is considering robotics.
The industry does employ a lot of people when the wells are being drilled, but once they’re done in about a year’s time, it’s hit the highway, bub. Oil and gas is no friend of the working man. It will cut jobs and wages to the benefit of its stockholders.
I encourage you to vote for Proposition 112 and also vote against Amendment 74. That’s the proposal that would allow property owners to make financial claims against a government body if their property is devalued by government action.
That means if a property owner owns property right next to a schoolhouse and would like to put a pot shop there, he can demand restitution from the city because a city ordinance forbids it. Amendment 74 is sponsored by the Colorado Farm Bureau and, guess who, Protect Colorado. It comes as a direct reaction to Proposition 112.
All these financial matters come secondary to the purpose of Proposition 112, which is to protect public health and safety. The Colorado School of Public Health reports people living within 2,500 feet of drilling and fracking are eight times as likely to experience cancer, respiratory diseases and birth defects. What good is all that money gonna do you if you’re fatally ill?
Fred Malo Jr.
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