Polis mum about what he wants for drilling setbacks
Colorado Gov.-elect Jared Polis, who supported 2,000foot drilling setbacks four years ago but opposed this fall’s Proposition 112, which would have required 2,500foot setbacks, declined to say Wednesday if or what additional limits he will seek to set as governor.
The voters who elected Polis, a Democrat, on Tuesday also resoundingly rejected Prop 112, which would have prohibited new oil and gas wells within 2,500 feet of homes, schools, other occupied buildings and “vulnerable areas.” With the Colorado House and Senate both controlled by Democrats, it’s widely expected that lawmakers will take up the issue in January.
Polis, in an interview Wednesday with The Denver Post, said he plans to work with the legislature and issue executive orders during his first year in office to deliver on his big campaign promises of lowering health care costs, expanding early childhood education and moving toward more renewable energy.
Here is what he told The Post, edited for clarity and brevity:
I think everything we talked about during the campaign we want to fight hard for. I fully expect we’ll have some successes and some failures, and hopefully we’ll be able to point to some solid achievements after the first year.
Certainly, saving families money on health care, expanding access to preschool and kindergarten, and taking the steps to move toward more renewable energy will be among our top priorities both through executive actions as well as working with the state legislature.
I was glad that some of the measures that I strongly opposed, including Amendment 74 and Proposition 109, failed. There were a number of proposals that would have interfered with our ability to deliver on full-day kindergarten. It would have made it harder to get some of our policies across the finish line. So I was really inspired by the wisdom of the voters of Colorado.
Those were not our proposals. I didn’t endorse any of those.
I’m going to be talking to the business community and Republicans and Democrats in the legislature and also people out in the field about what we need to do to build 21st-century infrastructure and how the voters of the state want to pay for it. Voters said they didn’t want to bond. They didn’t want a sales tax. So I think the question is what do they want.
A: It’s a question of what the voters want to do. I hear a lot across the campaign trail from Republicans and Democrats and the business community that they want to invest in our roads and our bridges and our infrastructure, and we’re going to be doing a lot of listening to see how people want to pay for it.
A: I support making sure that local communities have seats at the table and that we have a stronger backstop for setbacks when there’s no surface use agreement in place. I look forward to working with neighborhoods, local governments and any oil and gas (company) that wants to get ahead of these issues — and not risk the existence of their industry in the ballot box every two years — to try to find some common ground.
A: I didn’t support 112. As you know, I do support making sure the local communities have a say in where and how fracking is done in their community.
A: The legislature has the say over the money; the governor has some input. Certainly our priority is funding for the kindergarten. I look forward to working with the legislature to find any money that’s hidden under pillows to help make sure that we give kids great opportunities.