This conversation was partly inspired by a listener who asked me a couple of questions relating to the impact of Colorado Initiative 97 if it were to pass this November. You can see the questions just below.
Joining me to talk about the potential impact of 97 is Simon Lomax, a research fellow with Vital for Colorado and a former energy industry reporter for Bloomberg News. I want to make clear that Simon does have, as I do, a bias in favor of energy exploration and development, but I've always known him to give honest answers to hard questions.
I know this is something I want your perspective on. It's the new setback regulations proposed for fracking wells in Colorado. That being 2500 feet, about a half mile.
I guess my biggest concern is, is it really so hard to drill horizontally that the labor market is going to be hit with massive layoffs? Or is this just propaganda?
And is it really so dangerous to have a fracking rig so close? Or is that just propaganda?
More info on the initiative: https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_Minimum_Distance_Requirements_for_New_Oil_and_Gas_Projects_Initiative_(2018)
Hickenlooper sort of against it: http://westernwire.net/democrats-divided-over-oil-and-gas-setback-measure/
But Colorado's increasingly radically leftist Democratic Party came out for it: https://coloradopolitics.com/colorado-democrats-fracking/
Unsurprisingly, the Republican Party is strongly opposed, and trying to tie it to Polis even though he's expressed opposition. Given Polis' long-term bankrolling of similar measures it's hard to take his current opposition as anything other than realizing he can't take the political risk of showing his true colors during his campaign for governor. Of course, his current path also poses a risk of alienating some Democrats who don't trust his sincerity.