As state and federal lawmakers debate the country’s energy policies and Colorado’s role in the ever-expanding energy economy, let’s hope they remember that unnecessary regulations stifle growth while doing nothing for public safety or health. They would also be wise to listen to voter dissatisfaction regarding overly-burdensome regulations.
Every time Washington regulators pass down another heavy-handed rule or levy another hefty fine, Colorado loses potential jobs, revenue, and economic security. Our state has the resources to play a major role in the nation’s drive for cheap domestic energy, and it’s a shame when lawmakers get in the way.
The Centennial State is home to ten of the 100 largest natural gas fields in the United States, and three of the 100 largest oil fields. Increased production in Colorado’s Front Range is also expected to produce at least $50 million a year in tax revenue for the state.
Colorado’s collective shale deposits contain somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 trillion barrels of oil. That’s almost as much as the entire world’s proven oil reserves!
The benefits of these resources are real and tangible. In 2008, the refining industry employed about 570 people in Colorado. Those workers earned, on average, an annual pay of more than $150,000. In 2009, the oil and natural gas industries accounted for more than $10.2 billion in labor income, and contributed more than $20.4 billion to the state’s economy. It’s also worth pointing out that for every one oil industry-related job that is created in Colorado, another 3.3 jobs are created in related industries like trucking and pipeline construction.
What’s more – the refining, petrochemical, oil and gas industries have done a remarkable job of reducing their overall emissions by 71 percent since 1970. But despite this progress, new government regulations are imposing significant costs on business and consumers. Those costs will inevitably outweigh any potential environmental benefits by making it harder for energy producers and manufacturers to stay in business, which in turn threatens jobs and risks the long-term health of our nation’s economy.