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Supporting Proposition 112 Isn’t Going to Help People Who Oppose Fracking

Just two weeks away from election day, easily the most contested piece of legislation facing Colorado voters is controversial oil and gas measure Proposition 112. Though simple reason dictates that such a disastrous measure shouldn’t have even made the ballot, there it is, awaiting voter response on November 6. Perhaps even worse, recent polls indicate that the initiative could pass.

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Separate the Hype From the Facts in the Fracking Fight

Less than a month away from a pivotal vote in the Colorado elections, the campaign to denigrate hydraulic fracturing is in full swing. As the press parades anecdotal evidence of discontent Coloradans and dubious scientific evidence in voters’ faces, it’s important to remember the facts behind hydraulic fracturing, because this energy extraction process is nowhere near as harmful as its opponents would have you believe. 

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Oil and Gas Giants Take Giant Steps to Self-Regulate

Exxon on Thursday announced that they would join the growing number of international oil and gas companies to take steps to research and combat the long-term effects of climate change. The move comes just one day after Shell announced a similar initiative to regulate its methane emissions over the next few years.

Yet, for all these undeniably positive strides, oil and gas companies are still decried as the bad guy, even as they take steps to find common ground with anti-energy activists.

Exxon’s ‘Political’ Move

Four years after they were eviscerated in the media for wanting to determine their own path forward, Exxon’s decision to reverse course and join the industry-supported Oil and Gas Climate Initiative is being similarly attacked. This time, critics are accusing Exxon of making the move to earn goodwill among the people.

Few people (willingly) remember that Exxon’s refusal to join the OCGI four years ago wasn’t a refusal to address climate change, it was an attempt to independently assess the most effective strategies for combatting global warming. In other words, Exxon’s decision to join Chevron, BP, Shell, and several others seems less like a politically-motivated about-face and more like the natural result of four years of research and thought.

Shell Doubles Down on Planet Earth

As Exxon takes steps to bolster the OCGI, another member company, Royal Dutch Shell, announced their plan to drastically reduce its methane emissions over the next 7 years. The oil and gas company is shooting to maintain methane emissions below .02 percent of their total assets by the year 2025.

The announcement is the first step in Shell’s mission to cut their carbon emissions in half in the coming decades.

Are We Incapable of Celebrating Positive Change?

When it comes right down to it, there may be nothing oil and gas companies can do to convince people that they’re not working to destroy the planet. That’s too bad. Regardless of the impression you might be given by the media, the oil and gas industry is swiftly becoming the most passionate ally in the quest to curtail climate change.

Exxon’s $100 million annual commitment to the OCGI, for example, brings the fund’s total up to a staggering $1.3 billion. That’s a monetary total that makes a far more convincing statement than those critics complaining about the politics behind the transition.

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Initiative 97 is Operating Under a New Name: Proposition 112

In the last several weeks, we’ve spilled lots of ink discussing ballot Initiative 97, an anti-fracking ordinance designed to devastate the Colorado oil and gas industry utterly. Unfortunately, as the November election looms nearer, Initiative 97 is coming closer to fruition. Having hurdled the petition process, now initiative 97 is an official part of the ballot in the fall. That means a fancy new name change.

Make no mistake, though, even though 97 is now operating under the new bureaucratic title — proposition 112 — the inner workings of this dangerous legislation have not changed one iota.

Here are the straightforward facts surrounding proposition 112.

If you’re unfamiliar with prop 112, you can read the basics here. Essentially, the legislation aims to increase the mandatory setback for oil and gas projects to an unworkable 2,5000 feet from occupied structures or anywhere deemed a “vulnerable area.”

Proposition 112 By the Numbers

According to a fact sheet released by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the economic impact of Proposition 112 drums up some pretty scary numbers:

43,000

The number of jobs lost in the first year after passage. Those are more than just oil and gas jobs, too. Industries across the spectrum would be negatively affected. Thousands of retail, construction, and healthcare jobs could be lost.

147,800

The total number of jobs lost by 2030. As much as 77 percent of lost jobs would fall outside the oil and gas industry.

$700 million

The potential loss of revenue for Colorado’s schools every year. More than 9,000 teaching and government jobs rely on that income.

$1 billion

The annual loss of tax revenue to the state of Colorado, a deficit that translates to higher taxes and less efficient infrastructure.

$26 billion

The damage to Colorado’s state economy every year by 2030.

$147.6 billion

Personal income lost over the next decade. That’s money out of voters’ wallets.

Those numbers add up to a pretty scary decade for Colorado should prop 112 see the light of day.

Do Your Duty on Election Day

As this economic tremor sets up to rumble through the state, it’s more important than ever to divorce the truth about Proposition 112 from the baseless vitriol spouted by media outlets intent on stirring up controversy. The simple truth is that passage of Prop 112 would decimate the Colorado economy, possibly beyond repair.

Rather than work alongside the oil and gas industry to curb methane emissions (a project the industry itself is taking very seriously), anti-fracking advocates would prefer a shortcut solution that would cause far more havoc than it solved. When the time comes to cast your vote in November, remember to think about your community at large, not the headlines that fill up your social streams.

Vote no on proposition 112.