The 2009 Colorado legislative session is underway and the Colorado Cons have made their intentions and general strategy quite clear. They will spend the 120 legislative days delaying the work of the legislature and distracting from actual problems in the lead-up to next year’s elections. A frame is being established and Democrats need to ensure things get done despite the wasteful tactics the Cons are employing.
Example #1: State Sen. Shawn Mitchell (R-Broomfield) led an attack on regulations that were released last month by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. He and his followers are using a false talking point in an attempt to eviscerate the regulations at the behest of the fossil fuel industry. The talking point: any amount of regulation on industry activities will cause a devastating impact on the industry. Instead of being manhandled by regulations, drilling corporations have consistently threatened to pull up their stakes and move to other states to do business. This threat is simply ridiculous: would corporations willingly give up millions of dollars of profits in the face of justified regulatory activity? Of course not. But they keep pushing it nonetheless.
State Sen. David Balmer, not to be “out-talking pointed”, provided the following:
“By every metric I could see … the oil and gas business is declining in Colorado”
Sen. Balmer must not be looking very hard for metrics. Oil and gas drilling operations have exploded across the state in the past 8 years, even during 2 years of Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter’s term. I have a question for Sen. Balmer: what is the state of Colorado getting out of all of this new drilling? More crime, more pollution, more use of taxpayer-funded infrastructure (that the oil and gas corporations are not helping to pay for, by the way) and more negative impacts on tourism (hunting and camping, among others). Meanwhile, Colorado isn’t receiving the tax payments it’s due because of an old exemption put in place to help the oil and gas industry establish themselves in the state. Well, they’re plenty established, but still aren’t paying their fair share. But they’ll happilly fear-monger the populace into believing they’ll leave if the status quo changes. As an added note, Harris Sherman is quoted in the article as identifying falling commodity prices as the primary reason the gas industry has slowed down from its record pace last year. Maybe Sen. Balmer should spend some more time in a basic economics course before throwing around b.s. causes.
Lawmakers will be allowed to amend the proposed regulations prior to their enactment. I hope CO Democrats will not allow the Cons to wreck the process, which has already taken years.