Colorado Rep., Ray Scott, Confronts Hickenlooper’s War on Jobs
Colorado State Capitol
200 East Colfax Avenue, Room 271
Denver, Colorado 80203
H O U SE O F R E P R E S E NT A T IV E S
John W Hickenlooper, Governor
Dear Governor Hickenlooper,
Western Colorado is on life support. Businesses are closing – between the 4th Quarter of 2008 and the 4th quarter of 2012, Mesa County experienced a net loss of 620 businesses – unemployment is high (up from 3.8% in 2008 to 7% in 2013 – an increase of over 80%), our labor pool has all but disappeared, and the need for public assistance is straining local and state resources. These are not empty claims; the data I am including supports each statement. With the recent announcements of the idling of the West Elk coal mine; Encana resources suspending drilling operations; Schlumberger moving their remaining assets out of Grand Junction; Shell Oil closing its highly successful oil shale operation, and relocating it to Jordan; pending EPA regulations that will severely harm our mining industry and turn some local communities into ghost towns; new CDPHE air quality rules that will only add to the burden of the few remaining producers in our region; the threat of a Sage Grouse listing under the Endangered Species Act that will restrict EVERY industry in northwest Colorado – and all this on top of the impending withdrawal of the Roan Plateau leases and subsequent refunding of the lease sale to Bill Barrett Corporation, which will cost all Colorado citizens $52 million and thousands of jobs for the Western Slope – the time has come for some powerful remedial action. I respectfully request an emergency level meeting with your office, the Colorado Economic Development office, and a consortium of Western Slope elected officials, business leaders, and citizens to formulate not just a plan, but defined and specific actions to repair the economic crisis and permit a future for western Colorado.
On behalf of my constituents, I would request the following recommendations be addressed;
I realize that some of these may appear to be ambitious measures; but we are at the point now in western Colorado where strong action is called for. Government cannot create wealth and prosperity, or long-term growth-generating jobs; but it can foster a positive environment for the private sector to create jobs, growth, and prosperity, by removing many of the artificial obstacles in its path. We on the Western Slope need the state government to do just that, and we need it now. We have been encouraged by your recent visit to western Colorado, and your expressed willingness to help our region and address some of these critical issues. I, and many others in northwestern Colorado are grateful for the efforts you are displaying so far in helping to fight for a reasonable Sage Grouse conservation proposal. But this cannot be a one-stop effort. The needs of the Western Slope are great; perhaps the greatest in the state, and many of the problems are within the control of elected leaders like you to control and remedy. I am asking you, on behalf of the people who have entrusted us to the position’s we hold, to join us in finding a way to return to western Colorado the prosperity, hope, and future that it’s citizens deserve.
We look forward to your response.
State Representative, House District 55