A new Energy in Depth digital short launching today provides the facts and information on why the Boulder climate lawsuit is simply the wrong approach for Colorado.
The video features key Colorado voices pushing back against the suit and shows how Colorado’s energy industry is helping grow the economy while improving the environment.
The video launches the day before an event sponsored by the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) that will take a deeper dive into the lawsuit itself and the ramifications for Colorado manufacturers.
The digital short will run on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter and will target Coloradans across the state.
The Boulder Climate Lawsuit Faces Overwhelming Bipartisan Pushback
Just this past weekend, Democratic candidates running to be Colorado’s next Governor refused to endorse the lawsuit at a debate hosted by the Colorado Springs Gazette. In fact, gubernatorial candidate Carolyn Kennedy told the audience that, “I don’t think litigation is the best strategy. It’s costly, it’s going to take a long time. I want to see our state take steps now.” The remarks by Kennedy are in line with those made by officials from Governor Hickenlooper’s administration who expressed concern before the lawsuit was officially announced.
In addition to Democrats, the state’s leading newspaper has criticized the lawsuit. In an editorial, the Denver Post wrote: “Such lawsuits are especially unfortunate in a state like Colorado where tens of thousands of people work in a vibrant energy industry and understandably do not consider themselves engaged in a malignant occupation. And yet when the companies they work for are stigmatized and even demonized for engaging in commerce still critical to our economy, by extension so are they.”
CACI’s Leah Curtsinger warned this week that if other communities “follow in the footsteps of Boulder and San Miguel, we risk being labeled a liability alongside California and New York City, where the cost of doing business actively discourages further investment.” Gale Norton, former Attorney General of Colorado and Secretary of the Interior, also shared her concerns with the lawsuits in an editorial in the Denver Post. Norton will be the featured speaker at the CACI/NAM event on Thursday.
Growing Economy While Improving Environment
Colorado’s oil and gas industry contributes approximately $31 billion to the state annually and sent $202 million to the state’s school districts in 2012. The sector also supports more than 232,000 jobs, employing seven percent of Colorado’s workforce. Between FY 2017-18 and FY 2019-20, the industry’s severance tax revenue for Colorado is expected to double, from $62.2 million to $140.3 million, according to Colorado Legislative Council Staff forecasts. Over the past eight years, $615 million in state severance tax revenue has been sent directly back to municipalities and counties for critical infrastructure and other projects.
The oil and gas industry’s environmental footprint has improved as well, even as production in Colorado has surged. Nationally, oil and gas methane emissions fell from 2015 to 2016, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The state’s volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions have been cut nearly halved in half over the past 6 years.
Boulder Climate Lawsuit Doesn’t Make Any Sense
As EID has noted, Boulder’s climate lawsuit “offers no citations for the claims it makes, and many of those claims border on the bizarre.” Boulder claims it is being harmed by “unabated fossil fuel use” and “unchecked fossil fuel combustion,” yet instead of suing the users of fossil fuels, Boulder is targeting fossil fuel producers. In other words, “The plaintiffs are suing energy companies for global warming, but their complaint admits that fossil fuel use – that is, the activity that every resident of Boulder and San Miguel counties do every single day – is what’s actually causing the problem.”
Boulder’s lawsuit claims the entire fossil fuel industry is to blame for global warming, yet it has targeted only two companies, ExxonMobil and Suncor, which are not even the top oil and gas producers in the state, let alone the world. In fact, the lawsuit says it is targeting ExxonMobil because the company “emitted more than 420,000 metric tons of GHGs in Colorado between 2011 and 2015 alone.” But the City of Boulder “emitted 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2016 alone,” or roughly 19 times what ExxonMobil emits on average across the entire state.
Boulder’s complaint also ignores the many state, local, and national laws and regulations that explicitly encourage fossil fuel production, while curiously bragging about the tax increases Boulder’s leaders have imposed on their citizens “to fund emission reduction efforts.”