Will Colorado’s Oil and Gas Commission coddle an industry, or protect our air, water and wildlife

Will Colorado’s Oil and Gas Commission coddle an industry, or protect our air, water and wildlife for when the boom goes bust?

On Monday, I waited for two hours to put in my two cents before the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission. I spoke in support of their efforts to adopt modest proposals to protect air, water, wildlife, and communities from the coming 22,000+ oil wells slated to be drilled here in the coming two decades.

In line just ahead of me, a young man told a compelling story. He grew up in Trinidad, Colorado, a small town a dozen miles north of the New Mexico border. When coal mines in the area went bust, he said, life in Trinidad got hard. A natural gas boom in the last decade had breathed new life into the area, and gave him a good paying job. He worried that the Commission’s proposed rules would drive the gas industry out and turn Trinidad into a “ghost town.”

Turning Trinidad into a ghost town is no one’s favored outcome. But this man’s story is not the whole story for several reasons.

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