In a press release from Protect Colorado, they announce they have collected over 140,000 signatures for their November Ballot Measures. The signature collection is for ballot measures that support “Consumer Choice” with regard to natural gas use & “Ballot Transparency”.
In their press release, received by Yellow Scene on Wednesday, July 15, the say that “Protect Colorado has collected more than 140,000 signatures for each of its proposed initiatives for the upcoming November 2020 ballot. In order to qualify for the November 2020 ballot, Protect Colorado must submit 124,632 valid signatures to the Secretary of State’s office by August 3, 2020. We will continue to gather signatures by following the constitutionally-mandated process.”
Initiative 284 masquerades as a “Consumer Choice measure”, but its goal is to hamstring local governments and local communities in regard to regulation of future oil and gas use. They claim they are trying to “prevent governments removing consumer choice for what energy source is used in Colorado homes and businesses for cooking, heating homes and water, and powering equipment,” falsely claiming that if “284 doesn’t pass, the next home you buy or remodel a home in Colorado – you may NOT have the option to install or use a gas range, gas fireplace, gas heat or other gas appliances.
As far as we can tell, there is no move to remove traditional gas appliances from homes, currently, but to limit or ban future gas connections. 350.org states that “Denver’s Net Zero Energy Implementation Plan is aiming for net-zero energy (NZE) in new construction by 2035. Along with the latest International Energy Conservation Code – which is far from net zero – Denver intends to adopt a voluntary “stretch code” that includes electrification as a compliance path, but a lack of financial incentives will likely limit builder participation”. (Emphasis ours).
350.org also points out that, “In parts of the world with colder climates,” like Colorado in the Winter, “buildings contribute almost 40 percent of a region’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Gas combustion not only generates tons of carbon dioxide, but it can also pollute indoor air with nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide. And methane, which leaks when gas is fracked and distributed through pipes running from gas fields to furnaces is 84 times more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.” While we also enjoy our gas range stove, changes to our daily lives for the betterment of our own health and safety, as well as that of the broader community and planet, are definitely worth achieving. Lest we forget in our zeal for traditional gas appliances, which necessitates ever-increasing oil and gas extraction, the world teeters on the edge of climate catastrophe.
“Without 284,” Protect Colorado continues, “local and state governments would be able to enact laws restricting or banning natural gas usage in newly constructed homes and buildings. Natural gas bans are on the rise in cities across America, including Berkeley, California, and Brookline, Massachusetts. The measure would continue to allow Coloradans to choose their preferred energy source that fits their own family needs, budgets, and usage.”
Initiative 304, according to Protect Colorado, “is a Fiscal Impact Statement measure that would allow voters to understand the true and total cost of a ballot initiative. Its purpose is to provide voters with clear information about the total cost of any proposed ballot initiative.”
“Currently, the only economic impact provided to Colorado voters by the state is the direct impact a measure would have on the state budget. That information is given to voters through the blue book, a form of communication that some are unaware of. This Fiscal Impact Statement measure would allow a verified study to be placed in the ballot language – so that voters can read it as they fill out their ballots. The information will appear directly on their ballot. Total costs include the impact on employment (job losses or gains), Colorado’s economy, state revenues, as well as the initial price tag.”
We can’t help but wonder if they plan to include fiscal costs of environmental degradation, clean up, human health costs, oil and gas explosions, and spills, and other concerns. The true cost has to be the true cost and not just the cost that proves a political point.
About Protect Colorado
Protect Colorado says that they support “state and local ballot initiatives that promote a vibrant Colorado economy and oppose those measures that seek to harm Colorado’s economy and way of life. Protect Colorado is committed to presenting voters with excellent public policy questions, such as ensuring consumer choice for energy and total cost transparency for ballot initiatives.” PolluterWatch, who tracks pro-Oil and Gas groups, points out that, “Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Security, known as Protect Colorado, is a 501(c)(4) group created by PR firm Pac/West Communications on behalf of the oil and gas industry. The group is an issue committee, originally formed to fight ballot measures aimed at regulating the oil and gas industry… Protect Colorado is the political arm of Coloradan for Responsible Energy Development (CRED), also created by Pac/West Communications. The main goal of these groups is to leverage corporate money to counter the popular cry for greater regulation and accountability from the oil and gas industry.”