Report: Bill to end Colorado oil, gas permitting could have $2B impact on tax revenue



(The Center Square) – A bill to substantially restrict oil and gas permitting in Colorado would result in widespread financial and environmental impacts, according to a new report by a research group.

The report, published by the Common Sense Institute, a free-enterprise think tank, says Senate Bill 24-159 would negatively impact the state’s economy as well as tax revenue at the state and local levels.

The legislation also would result in increased emissions, according to the report, which referenced the recently published Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap 2.0 Report to support its point.

“More fuel would be imported to Colorado, primarily by heavy trucks carrying oil and gas products, which themselves produce local air pollution,” the state document says.

SB24-159 would mandate the Colorado Energy & Carbon Management Commission to adopt regulations ending the issuance of new oil and gas permits by Jan. 1, 2030. It would reduce the number new wells in 2028 and 2029 and require companies receiving permits after 2024 to stop operating by 2032.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing by the Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.

CSI found $1.9 billion in state and local tax revenue in 2022 from the oil and gas industry was the largest single source of revenue, an average of $321 per Colorado resident.

The $1.2 billion in property taxes paid by the industry was the largest source of revenue for local taxing districts, according to the report. Schools received $432 million in oil and gas property tax revenue, and fire and police departments, cities, counties and other local services received $768 million. It amounted to 6% of all property tax revenue and 7% of all school property tax revenue.

“The economic impact of banning oil and gas drilling in Colorado would be devastating and goes beyond lost production, tax revenue, and job losses,” CSI Energy Fellow Trisha Curtis said in a statement. “At a minimum at risk is $2 billion in state and local tax revenue, over $400 million which funds Colorado schools, and nearly 200,000 jobs.”

If the bill becomes law, CSI estimates a total of 34,700 jobs would be lost in Colorado during in the first year and 181,800 during the next 10 years. It projects 70% of the jobs lost will be in the metro Denver area. The state’s gross domestic product would be reduced by 5.4% or $48.5 billion in the 10th year and a total of $321 billion during the decade.

The report emphasized the proposed law would only shift where energy is produced.

“This action would likely result in more pollution, higher methane emissions, more air pollution in our neighboring states, increased transportation emissions from increased imports of fossil fuels for use in Colorado, increased risk of accidents and spills of oil and gas products through increased interstate trucking, and price disruptions and less certainty of supply for all Coloradans without a meaningful long-term impact on fossil fuel consumption,” the report stated, referencing Gov. Jared Polis’ roadmap.

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