Restricted Drilling in Colorado

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There has been much debate on whether or not there should be restrictions on oil drilling in Colorado, even though Proposition 112 was not passed, I don’t think those are over. If this was to be passed, all oil and gas developments will have to be 2500 feet away from all “vulnerable” places including schools and houses- it’s currently 500 to 1000 feet. Many people in Colorado are worried about the health risks that these are causing and want those restrictions to help not only themselves but their family and community. However, many others feel that there is not enough evidence and support that health issues are really the effect of these new and old oil rigs being drilled near houses and schools. (Wilson). Oil and gas companies contribute to a lot within Colorado, including government and school funding.

A good percentage of people are worried about restrictions being set on oil companies because it would negatively affect their lives, including possible job loss and major economic damage. The positive effects would truly outweigh the negatives of the drilling restrictions in this situation. There are tons of Coloradans that be at a true loss if these restrictions were set, and there is no telling the things that could happen it they were. If Colorado were to put more strict limits on where oil companies can drill, it would negatively affect economy, schools and jobs because a majority of tax money comes from these oil companies- I believe it could be a true deficit to Colorado.

Taxpayers in Colorado could be in for a whirl if tough restrictions are set on the oil companies, which I believe could cause a lot of tension between the governments and the citizens. An oil and gas advocacy group warned taxpayers that they could face over a billion dollars in compensation claims, with people only looking for money and nothing else- no matter what it costs the state.(Elliot). There has been a recent oil and gas boom in Colorado due to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and directional drilling. And even though this is bringing in money for Colorado, the problem is that people are worried about them being built near schools and houses. (Elliot) Colorado’s largest oilfield is Wattenburg, which is continually growing and prospering- however it is in the middle of a fast growing city with many little angry neighborhoods.

“The royalty owners group said the Wattenberg field has about $180 billion in untapped petroleum, and royalties for the owners of the mineral rights are worth $26 billion,”(Elliot). That land is worth a lot of money, and if more restrictions were to be on, it would be lawsuit after lawsuit. Amendment 5 states, that private property cannot be taken for public use ‘without just compensation.’ Owners of the land could and probably would file compensation claims against state and local governments to get all the money they could from the state. (Elliot) These new setbacks were said to be only effective on new drills, but companies may have to shut down old ones if they are in need of repair because that would be against the restrictions once it is set to go back. Not only would land restricted drilling affect Colorado’s future, but also take away from what is already here.

Oil and gas companies take up a good percentage of land, but it is not for nothing- they provide a lot of funding to schools here, which I believe would be worth it to Colorado. If more restrictions are set in Colorado, this could cause almost all these major companies to relocate, which would take a lot of money from public schools that get money from there on a yearly basis. ‘DeWitt estimates that property taxes from oil and gas operations contribute about $20 million a year toward the district’s $240 million annual budget,'(Meltzer). This is specifically about Greeley- Evans District 6, but they made sure to add that it will affect the funding of all public schools in Colorado.

These setbacks could cause some cuts of programs they may have that would not stay running without that extra money- $20 million is a lot. A lot of people will be devastated at the outcomes. Not only would this limit money, but the farther distance they must be from these schools and houses limits the area they have to choose from. It takes away a lot of potential land for all these oil and gas companies- which could mean a lot of money lost for Colorado. ‘If approved, about 54 percent of the total land surface in Colorado would be come off-limits to drilling and about 85 percent of non-federal land…'(Neuhauser). That is a lot of land gone and useless to these companies. It could mean relocation for many of these huge oil companies, even out of state…Colorado is not ready for that big of set back.

Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado conducted a study in December of 2015 on the effect on the oil and gas industry in Colorado, which is a very important piece to better our state every day. This industry has played a huge role in Colorado’s economy for a long time now, and people are very reliant on all it does. Money that the government makes is used to fund many of the public services people use everyday without even knowing, including bus services, libraries, Planned Parenthood, and more that would be very limited or even completely gone if the state lost the funding that the oil and gas industry bring. In the event that we put restrictions on where we can drill, the government would lose a tremendous amount of funding they receive yearly.

“The oil and gas industry in 2014 pumped $31.7 billion into Colorado’s economy” (Wobbekind and Lewandowski). Think of all that can be done with that amount of money. This study shows that without that money- we would have to pay it. Taxes would be forced to go up to attempt to account for the lost revenue that extremely limited drilling would result in. Prices for oil, natural gas, and gasoline have continually decreased since 2014 which is only going to be a good thing for Colorado in the long run when it comes down to the production and overall cost (Wobbekind and Lewandowski). And by putting restrictions on oil drilling, all money and effort put in over the years would be gone, and Colorado will be at a loss.

The income received in Colorado is largely from oil and gas companies, and I believe if the state sets stricter limitations, it will be a true deficit to the economy. A good majority of the State relies on money and funding from these companies, probably without even knowing it. Not only does it affect people indirectly, it could directly affect many families directly as well, with loss of jobs and increased taxes. “…in 2014 the oil and gas industry supported over 100,000 high paying workers and their families,”(George). Too many jobs would be lost if this would be put into effect, and many people would be devastated at the outcome for not only themselves, but Colorado as a whole. People believe that putting in more restrictions would cause many major oil companies to have to lay people off- just because there would be nothing for them to do once all their wells are gone.

This will cost Colorado 43,000 jobs in the first year alone and then about 150,000 by 2030. (George) The president of Colorado Oil and Gas Association (COGA) stated that no matter where people live in Colorado, these oil companies positively impact their lives, even if there is no gas property on your county. The tax revenue increased drastically in only one year and will only continue to rise with upcoming years. For example, tax revenue in Severance increased from 171 million dollars in 2013 to 330 million in 2014 (George). If that kind of boom can happen on one short year, think about 10 years from now or even farther how big these oil and gas industries would really be. Colorado has one of the biggest oil industries in the country, but that doesn’t mean that Colorado is covered with oil rigs and fracking.

Over 50% of counties in Colorado have oil and gas property that can be taxed to help our taxpayers not have to pay as much, even if you do not live in those counties. Surprisingly, 90 percent of these taxable oil and gas properties are in five counties: Weld, Montezuma.Garfield, Rio Blanco, and La Plata- mostly in Weld County. (George). Living in Weld County and being on a farm really helps me understand the true importance of these companies, especially in the area where I live. My family personally is partners with a big oil and gas company that drills on our property, and restrictions were made then they could lose a lot of money and so could my family. That is only one family out the the majority of people in Colorado that would be negatively affected by putting more restrictions on how far companies can drill from homes and schools. Limiting where these oil and gas companies can drill, would be a huge setback for Colorado, and would cause Coloradans a lot- even without knowing.

Debates on land restricted drilling have been going on for decades now, for whether or not we need more restrictions for how far oil and gas companies can drill from “vulnerable” places like schools and homes. No matter where people live in Colorado, everybody is affected by oil and gas companies, whether it is directly or indirectly. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t involved with these companies- even if they have no idea what the oil industry is or does. You don’t notice all that these oil and gas companies do for Colorado’s economy now, but if restriction were set on them, you would notice all the difference. A setback from 500 feet to 2500 feet is quite a bit, and I don’t think people realize how many oil rigs there are and all that they do for the state. Most of the land in the state would be off limits, and will cause many oil companies to relocate where it’s better for them, even if its out of Colorado.

People need to start caring more about oil and gas companies, because they provide billions of dollars in funding to the government and schools each year. This is something that is increasing each year, just like the demand for oil everywhere. If setbacks were made, over 100,000 jobs would be lost and families could face many problems that nobody needs to be in. On top of that, without the funding to the government through these oil companies, taxes to the people would increase immensely- and not only people that live in the oil districts. Land restricted is a serious issue in Colorado that would truly affect everybody in the state, no matter where they live. There is no need for more restrictions on oil and gas companies because it will only cause problems, not solve any.


Cite this paper

Restricted Drilling in Colorado. (2022, Dec 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/restricted-drilling-in-colorado/

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