By Gary Wockner,
Coloradans For Climate Justice
“If taxes are to be raised, they should be raised on the entities that caused climate change, principally the multi-billion dollar profiting fossil fuel corporations.” — Gary Wockner
At the Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver on June 20th, “For The Love Of Colorado” launched a $1 million media and public relations blitz using false language and images to support the extremely controversial “Colorado Water Plan.” The ad campaign was posted to the “Colorado Contractors” website and is also posted here. The ad campaign will support (but not directly say so) “Proposition DD” on the November ballot which proposes to create a sports gambling scheme in Colorado and raise taxes on Coloradans who gamble to help fund the Colorado Water Plan.
The ad campaign repeatedly says the Colorado Water Plan will protect rivers in Colorado when the facts are that the Plan has been, and will continue to be, used to promote and fund new river-destroying dams on Colorado’s rivers and new diversions of water out of Colorado’s rivers. (See column: “Colorado Water Plan Has Become Colorado Dam Plan“, by Gary Wockner in the Colorado Springs Gazette.) The ad campaign greenwashes new dams and diversions by calling them “Infrastructure” and “Colorado Compact Obligations”. As three examples:
1) the Colorado Water Plan has been used to fund and support a massive new proposed dam on the White River in Rio Blanco County for “Colorado Compact Obligations” and to support the “energy sector” (fracking) (see Aspen Journalism story here);
2) the Plan has been used to fund and support a proposed enormous new pipeline scheme that would further drain the South Platte River by piping and pumping its water backward from Nebraska back upstream to the Denver metropolis (see Greeley Tribune story here).
and 3) the Plan and the Sports Betting ballot referendum call for buying hundreds of thousands of acres of farm water in Colorado to try and run that water down the Colorado River to save Glen Canyon Dam in Arizona which is likely doomed by climate change (see page 42 of the bill creating the ballot referendum here)
“The Colorado Water Plan would further dam and drain Colorado’s rivers,” said Gary Wockner who has launched “Coloradans For Climate Justice,” an “Issue Committee,” that will oppose Proposition DD on the November ballot (see Committee notification here). “Colorado’s rivers need to be protected and restored, not further drained.”
The ad campaign repeatedly says that “By 2050 our water supply will diminish by 35%”. The best available climate science supports the claim that water supply will diminish. However, taxing citizens to pay for climate damage is not only extremely controversial, it would be completely untenable as the impacts of climate change intensify. A 2015 study by the group “Protect The Flows” found that the Colorado River generates $1.4 trillion in “gross state product” each year and supports 16 million jobs (see state-based economic product here), while supporting $188.95 billion in “gross state product” in the state of Colorado. Simple back-of-the-envelope math indicates that if flows in the Colorado River decrease by 35% by 2050, the economic damage could be up to $66,000,000,000 (billion) to Colorado every year.
“Setting the precedent of raising taxes on working- and middle-class Coloradans to pay for the damage caused by climate change is an extreme assault on climate justice that could cost billions of taxpayer dollars every year,” said Wockner. “If taxes are to be raised, they should be raised on the entities that caused climate change, principally the multi-billion dollar profiting fossil fuel corporations.”