Penry says new regs are killing Colorado’s oil and gas industry

State Sen. Josh Penry sounded the death knell for the Colorado oil and gas industry in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, complaining that new regulations put forth by the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission would drive drilling to other states.

“These rules have made a grim situation almost intolerable for these companies,” the Grand Junction Republican told the Journal. “This is killing jobs.”

Apparently Penry didn’t read Colorado Independent’s recent story on a report by the nonprofit research group Headwaters Economics. That report indicated that oil and gas doesn’t contribute enough to the state’s overall economy to give the industry too much environmental or public-health leeway.

The new regs, which are still subject to the approval of the state legislature, restrict drilling in and around drinking water supplies and require notification of wildlife officials during the permitting process.

As the Journal points out, “The rules, which take effect in the spring, aim to strike a balance between two resources critical to Colorado’s future: the bounty of natural gas buried underground and the natural beauty of a state rich in outdoor tourist draws, from sparkling trout streams to rugged big-game habitats.”

The Headwaters report indicates there’s another economic segment attracted by the state’s natural beauty: retirees and second homeowners who require professional services that typically pay more than tourism-based jobs.

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