Published in the Daily Camera on April 10th, 2024

Despite the Camera’s endorsement, Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill (SB 159) that would have gone after orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells and begun the transition away from petroleum extraction. In doing so, our legislators kicked the can down the road. The problem is: we are running out of road.

We have already experienced loss and damage to what we love about Colorado. And the continued burning of fossil fuels will only give us more of the same: toxic air pollution, droughts, wildfires like the Marshall Fire, shortened ski seasons, beetle-killed forests, overheated trout streams, etc. We don’t want that for ourselves, and certainly not for our children. And it’s not good for our economic future.

Fortunately, cleaner, safer, healthier, more abundant energy alternatives are available from wind and solar. There is, of course, work to be done in navigating the energy transition and incorporating new technologies into our economy while honoring and supporting the fossil fuel veterans who have fueled our economy for so long. This work takes time. So we should be moving now, with dispatch.

I commend the legislators who introduced and supported this bill. I am dismayed by the oil and gas industry’s radical pro-pollution agenda in the face of the clear evidence of harm from ongoing production. It’s time for an upgrade. Together we need to develop a glide path from dirty and expensive to clean, abundant and socially just. 

Later is too late.

Chris Hoffman, Boulder