Colorado’s oil & gas improves millions of lives
RYAN ZORN Ryan Zorn is president & CFO of Clear Creek Resource partners in Denver. He is a native of Colorado and graduate of Colorado school of mines.
As a native of this state, a proud producer of energy, and a very grateful consumer of energy, I write this urgent appeal that we consider the many layers of outcomes that will follow the implementation of hastily legislated energy policies that were jammed through our state House and Senate in early 2019. The wide-ranging laws Gov. Jared Polis signed are now in the heat of prolonged rulemakings which, of course, are overseen by his hand-picked regulatory agency bureaucrats whose agendas are significantly different from those of Colorado voters.
Case in point is the potential for vastly expanded oil and gas location setback rules that were signaled as appropriate by the newly appointed commissioners of the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. Their contemplated setbacks completely counteract the wishes of Colorado voters who defeated Proposition 112 by an overwhelming margin — with the widest margins of defeat coming from voters in areas of our state that are home to the most vibrant drilling and production activities.
Colorado’s oil and natural gas production yield massive benefits to family budgets and elevated quality of life that accrue to energy consumers locally, nationally and on a global scale. It is time to stop playing games with arbitrarily determined regulations that will act as a prohibition on new development activity and usher in perpetual production declines within our state.
Today, Colorado citizens can rest easy knowing our state is energy secure. Because we live close to the source, Colorado residential energy consumers benefit from the second lowest energy price per unit in the nation at $16.70/ MMbtu per the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
All evidence suggests that Gov. Polis thinks California energy policies are to be idolized and plagiarized. However, Coloradans should understand that heavy-handed, virtue-signaling regulation in California created steady declines of in-state energy production and the obligation to import twothirds of its primary energy supply from neighboring states and foreign countries. In doing so, California policy makers and legislators have levied an extraordinary energy cost on its citizens who pay the seventh highest residential energy price in the nation at $29.45/MMbtu.
If we paid California prices for residential and transportation sector energy, every man, woman, and child living in Colorado would have to cough up an extra 38% or $1,044 per year. Likewise, Colorado businesses would pay an extra 35% or $3.9 billion per year on their energy bills. In total, a California energy price scenario would hit Colorado consumers by an incremental $9.9 billion per year.
Looking at the impacts beyond our state border, it would be wise to ask: What does Colorado contribute to the global energy system and who might miss us when we are gone? Colorado is the fifth- and sixth-largest producing state for oil and natural gas, respectively. Frequently, Gov. Polis and his political allies act as though they are embarrassed of this hard-earned achievement. Could it ever be a point of pride for them that Colorado oil production is adequate to supply the annual demand of Vietnam, a country of nearly 100 million people? Does it give them any warmth as humans to know that Colorado natural gas production is adequate to supply the annual demand of India, a country of 1.4 billion, or all of Africa (excluding Algeria and Egypt) which represents a population of 1.2 billion? These are the populations disproportionately hurt when supplies of modern fuels are reduced by regulatory overreach by energy-rich governments that cannot seem to acknowledge any second derivative consequences of their actions.
Shockingly, there are 3 billion global citizens who still cook over fires that burn solid fuels (wood, charcoal, grass, dung) and suffer horrendous respiratory health consequences as a result. In this era of COVID-19, everyone is paying supreme attention to respiratory health while grieving the loss of nearly one million lives worldwide.
However, very few people who are troubled by the magnitude of COVID-19 risks and outcomes are aware that eight million people die every year due to chronic exposure to fine particulate pollution as estimated by the World Health Organization We can solve this great health injustice by supplying these populations with a portfolio of energy options that steer away from solid fuels and deliver scalable, reliable, affordable and cleaner-burning fuels that contribute mightily to our world-class standard of living and health here in Colorado.
We must consider these critical facts and circumstances close to home and abroad. Let’s examine our consciousness, resist the temptation to be unduly obedient to the fringe elements of the environmental movement, and re-calibrate our sense of purpose regarding our state’s ability to improve the lives of millions locally and around the world through the sustained supply of responsibly sourced Colorado oil & natural gas.
“… Gov. Polis thinks California energy policies are to be idolized and plagiarized. However … heavy-handed, virtue-signaling regulation in California created steady declines of in-state energy production and the obligation to import two-thirds of its primary energy supply from neighboring states and foreign countries.
The Gazette, Colorado Springs