We Need Support for America’s Energy Industry, Not Mixed Messages

By Chelsie Miera

Today, Democrats on the U.S. House Energy & Company Committee will hold a hearing with CEOs of major oil and gas companies in an attempt to blame them for the record high gasoline prices that drivers in Colorado and across America have been paying this past year. 

So, it’s more than a little ironic that the hearing is being led by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.). 

During her 25 years in Congress, DeGette has repeatedly and proudly attacked America’s oil industry. Now, DeGette and her fellow Democrats on the committee are accusing these companies for not “[taking] all actions within its power to lower domestic gasoline prices and alleviate Americans’ pain at the pump.”

Which is it, Congresswoman? Do you want to bury America’s industry in burdensome regulations? Or do you want it to be strong and reliable to keep gasoline prices low? 

As the Executive Director of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association, I see firsthand every day the consequences of, at its best, mixed messages, and at its worst, outright hostility towards Colorado’s and America’s oil and gas industry. 

On energy issues, DeGette is best known for repeatedly introducing legislation known as the “Frack Pack” – a package of proposals that would smack the industry with duplicative and excessive regulations. 

DeGette claims that there is a “failure of patchwork environmental protections to keep pace” with shale revolution that has brought unprecedented energy security to the United States. 

But here’s the facts: The U.S. oil and gas industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the world, and Colorado’s standards are some of the strictest in the country. We’re already doing our part to responsibly develop America’s energy resources and continuing to get better at doing it. 

That’s why major energy-producing regions in Colorado – Delta, Garfield, Mesa, Moffat, Morgan, Rio Blanco, Washington, Weld, and Yuma counties – have all opposed the “Frack Pack.” 

It shows that DeGette’s real goal isn’t protecting the environment, it’s undermining the oil and gas industry. The “Frack Pack” has even been endorsed by dozens of environmental activist groups with a clear anti-oil and natural gas agenda including the League of Conversation Voters, Earthjustice, Natural Resources Defense Council, WildEarth Guardians, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity. 

To bolster her agenda, DeGette has pushed flawed research like a 2012 study that dubiously claimed to link fracking to cancer. But that study was repeatedly and thoroughly debunked by Colorado’s Dept. of Public Health and the Environment who called it “misleading” and said it “does not prove or establish such a connection.”

DeGette appeared in Josh Fox’s Gasland documentary, a film that was resoundingly criticized for its false portrayal of the industry. John Hanger, the former Pennsylvania Secretary of the Environment who was interviewed for the film, called it “propagandist,” “fundamentally dishonest” and “a deliberately false presentation for dramatic effect.”

DeGette has also advocated for the 30×30 plan that would put millions of acres across America off limits for economic development. This wouldn’t just affect energy production, but plenty of other industries, especially on Colorado’s Western Slope. Her 2021 “Protecting America’s Wilderness Act,” would have taken 1.2 million acres off the table for energy development – mostly in Colorado – and was not even remotely aligned with the Department of Interior’s multiple use mandate. 

A University of Wyoming study found that such an oil and gas leasing moratorium on federals lands would cost Colorado up to $79 million per year in tax revenue – which is critical to funding local government services like K-12 education, first responders, and even outdoor recreation opportunities in communities along the Western Slope. 

DeGette now wants to pull the wool over voter’s eyes and hope that Americans will ignore years of political attacks on our nation’s oil and gas industry and instead blame the industry for high gasoline prices. But DeGette, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other far-left Democrats can’t attack oil and gas companies day in, and day out and then complain that those very same companies aren’t producing enough energy to meet the demands of American consumers. 

Are our leaders in Congress ready to work with Colorado’s oil and gas industry to address high energy prices? Perhaps we’ll get a clearer answer on that during today’s hearing. 

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About the Author:

Chelsie Miera is the Executive Director of the West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association