While they're not campaigning for or against a ballot questions this season, oil and gas advocates hit the campaign airwaves just as hard.
Protect Colorado rolled out a statewide six-figure ad buy, online and on TV, to get eyeballs on a 30-second spot directed at Gov. Jared Polis — but more precisely, at a committee of regulators his administration helped seat.
Polis and legislative Democrats passed Senate Bill 181 last year, which established a professional Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. That commission is currently writing rules on setbacks, the distance mandated between rigs and homes, businesses or other occupied places.
In an exclusive op-ed from Gov. Jared Polis, he writes that "we have a path before us to make those divisive oil and gas ballot fights a thing of the past" — if Coloradans give the new law some time.
This summer Polis agreed not to support or oppose any ballot measures until he was satisfied Senate Bill 181 had had a chance to work. That chilled Protect Colorado and other interests who were facing a daunting task of qualifying for the ballot in pandemic conditions.
Here's the script of the 30-second ad:
Governor Polis, two years ago, you stood up for Colorado’s oil and natural gas workers – and against harmful regulations that would have a crippling effect on the state’s economy. You even called for an end to the oil and gas wars.
Now your own agency is considering overly complicated regulations that go well beyond what is needed or reasonable. With Colorado’s economy on the ropes – let's not place more hurdles to the Colorado comeback.
Governor, we need your leadership. Stop the overreach and have your agencies provide the regulatory certainty you promised.
Watch the ad by clicking here.
Protect Colorado responded to the governor's July 24 op-ed in a statement, suggesting the truce on ballot issues might not hold if they don't find setbacks and other regulations reasonable.
"We agree to work collaboratively with the governor, General Assembly, and key stakeholders to ensure SB 181 is implemented smoothly, but we will respond if adverse measures are filed or regulations are advanced that don’t reflect a collaborative process," the advocacy organization said in July, after Polis made his decision public in a Colorado Politics op-ed. "We will defend our employees, investors, customers and Colorado itself."