Po­lis mum about what he wants for drilling set­backs

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Nic Gar­cia

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.

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