Thursday morning at the Grand Vista Hotel, an Energy and Manufacturing Forum was held to discuss many topics about energy and manufacturing on the Western Slope ranging from water rights for the Colorado River as well as the oil & gas industry returning to the Grand Valley, and at the helm of the discussion was Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton. 

The forum is made possible by the Consumer Energy Alliance and Colorado Business Roundtable teaming up to host the forum.

“We’ve had a relationship with the Colorado Business Roundtable for probably about the last five to seven years”, says Diane Schwenke the President of the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

The forum focuses on how to enhance energy and manufacturing development from the business, economic, and legislative perspectives.

“When it comes to strong economic growth, workforce development, legislation that can either help or harm the economy”, says Schwenke.

Once the forum made the stop in Grand Junction, Congressman Tipton came by to provide answers from the legislative perspective that affects Colorado energy development and manufacturing, and he also tells us about how regulations play a vital role in both industries.

“We’ve seen an abundance of regulations come forward, no one opposes them, we just need to make sure we have sensible regulations. Let’s do it safely, but let’s also make sure that we’re having rules and regulations that are applicable making sure that we’re having the opportunity to create jobs, put people to work, and be able to provide for our families”, says Congressman Scott Tipton.

Mayor Pro Tem Bennett Boeschenstein share’s his personal views on natural gas expansion. He tells us that Colorado has some of the most stringent methane standards in the nation and that the recent rollbacks by the Trump Administration to Bears Ears National Monument are worrisome when it comes to seeing the same happening to methane due to an industrial shift.

“We do need some gas and oil but not to the extent that some people may want to do. I’m more in favor of a balanced approach, not a whole-scale approach to natural resources”, says Boeschenstein.

The congressman recognizes that the oil & gas industry in the Grand Valley has gone through boom and bust cycles in the past, he believes the Western Slope’s abundance of natural gas could stabilize the industry.

“It always seems to have been a boom and bust cycle when it comes to energy. One of the ways we can level out that boom and bust cycle is by exporting something we have an abundance of. The U.S. Geological Survey says the second largest natural gas reserve in the U.S. happens to be right here”, says Congressman Tipton.

The congressman also spoke about protecting river rights through the Colorado Water Rights Act, a state bill he sponsored as water is a vital resource to our area, especially with persistent drought conditions.

“We need to make sure that everything is in place to protect those water rights, not only from federal taking but from other states as well”, says Congressman Tipton.