With Hickenlooper out, Colorado’s empowered environmentalists target oil and gas industry

For eight years, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper shielded the oil and gas industry from the salvos of the environmental left, but now there’s a new political regime in town with no love for fossil fuels. Without the pro-fracking Mr. Hickenlooper to run interference, Colorado Democrats are poised to deliver a body blow to the state’s $31 billion oil and gas industry with Senate Bill 181, legislation aimed at prioritizing environmental and safety concerns that critics have described as a de facto prohibition on drilling. “That bill, SB 181, make no mistake, it has nothing to do with public health and safety and everything to do with banning energy development in the state of Colorado,” Amy Oliver Cooke, executive vice president of the free-market Independence Institute, said at a Friday protest rally in Greeley. Still, nobody doubts that the measure will pass. The state Senate advanced the bill during Wednesday’s blizzard on a 19-15 party-line vote with one abstention, sending the measure to the House and one step closer to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat and longtime fracking foe who campaigned last year on 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. Environmental groups cheered the vote. “The state Senate is showing real national leadership, showing other states how to protect communities from the public health and safety impacts of oil and gas extraction,” said Sam Gilchrist, western campaigns director at the National Resources Defense Council. New York, Maryland and Vermont have gone further by prohibiting fracking, but unlike those states, Colorado has a major oil and gas industry presence. The nation’s fifth-largest producer of natural gas, Colorado fossil-fuel development supported nearly 233,000 jobs in 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Colorado “is going to do something that hasn’t been done, and that is: a state with a very significant pool of gas and oil is going to make it a lot more difficult to mine it,” said Denver political analyst Floyd Ciruli. “There is really now ample warning that the way this legislation is drafted, it’s essentially going to allow some level of a ban,” he said. “The public is clearly divided on this.” Republicans, rural Coloradans and industry officials have warned of brutal economic consequences. A REMI Partnership study released Tuesday by industry groups estimated that a 50 percent reduction in production by 2030 would wipe out 120,000 jobs and $8 billion in state and local tax revenue. “Let’s not forget that there will be pain if this bill passes,” state Sen. Rob Woodward, a Republican, said before Wednesday’s vote. “People will lose their jobs, people will lose their homes, people will lose their businesses. And as we all know when this happens, marriages will crumble, suicides will increase. It’s not a pretty picture.”

Indeed..  For more on this story, click on the text above.  This will be truly devastating to Colorado, if this crap becomes law.  Awful…

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