Letter: Prop. 112 would have ‘dreadful’ affect on economy, way of life
October 17, 2018
In 1689, John Locke wrote that the law of nature obliged all humans not to harm "the life, the liberty, health, limb, or goods of another." You probably know this more commonly as the right of life, liberty and property. Locke's quote springs to mind today, because we face a measure designed to hinder the rights of both liberty and property.
Proposition 112 is an innocuous sounding measure that would increase oil and gas drilling setbacks from the existing 500 or 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet. It sounds reasonable because the oil and gas industry talks repeatedly of its success drilling laterally two to four times that length underground.
What's the big deal? Just put drilling operations further away from everyone, right?
Wrong. The common misconception is that 2,500 feet doesn't just imply a line, but a radius – a circle, within which no oil and gas activity can occur. And what are the points from which these circles are drawn?
There are many, but we'll summarize – occupied buildings, any body of water, which includes intermittent and perennial streams, and "areas of special concern,” which can be designated seemingly at will by local governments in the future.
Lay these circles out on a map and suddenly 85 percent of state and private lands are now off-limits from drilling. So it doesn't matter how long a lateral a company can drill if they can't find any place to put the equipment on the surface.
Recommended Stories For You
The backers of Proposition 112 claim this is for health and safety reasons. They cite studies showing all sorts of scary things about the effects of living near oil and gas operations. Yet, the studies they use have been called "misleading" by the state's top health officials at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Leading the charge for Proposition 112 is a group funded by national ban-fracking activists seeking to stop at nothing to "keep it in the ground." They don't care what happens to our economy when you kick a $30 billion industry out of the state. It's of no concern to them that hundreds of millions of dollars in education funding, and tens of thousands of jobs go with it.
The ramifications of such a measure would mean dreadful things for our economy, our way of life and the foundational principles upon which our society exists. Please join us in voting “no” on Proposition 112.
Amy Williams, Jody Camilletti, Harry Thompson and Christy Belton
Citizens Supporting Property Rights board