DENVER (CBS4) – It will be what President Barack Obama calls an all-out, all-of-the-above energy strategy when he comes to Colorado on Thursday.
It’s a strategy Colorado already employs. Oil and gas are as important to the state’s economy as wind and sun. It’s no wonder the president will hold Colorado up as a model for the rest of the country.
The backdrop for the president’s speech will be at Buckley Air Force Base, home to a 5,000 panel solar array. But his focus will be on a state that is diversified in its energy portfolio.
Colorado has not only has an abundance of wind and sun, but ranks fifth in the country in natural gas production.
“It’s only been the last couple of years that we’ve really appreciated how much of a game-changer this can be,” said TJ Deora, Governor’s Energy Office Director. “Just in the last year I think it’s become very main stream that we actually do have this great natural gas resource.”
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It’s a resource the president says can last America nearly 100 years. He’s pushing for more production, saying he will issue an order to allow clean energy development on public land.
“Energy development on public lands tends to be primarily in Colorado on the Western Slope and tend to be more oil and gas developments,” Deora said.
Even as Colorado pushes for more uses for its robust natural gas supply, leading a coalition of eight states committed to gas-powered fleets.
“So the auto manufacturers can say, ‘Hey there’s a market and people actually want these things.’ And therefore they can then tool their factories to produce these off the assembly line,” Deora said.
Obama says his energy strategy will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. The energy sector already employs over 100,000 people in Colorado — 10 percent of the state’s economy is driven by energy.
“So when we talk about the potential to increase production, we’re talking about tens of thousands of new jobs coming into the state,” Deora said.
The president will also highlight Colorado’s new rules with regard to fracking, a controversial drilling procedure. Obama says he will require all companies that drill on public land to disclose the chemicals they use in the process.
Watch live coverage of Obama’s visit on CBSDenver.com and watch CBS4 News Thursday night to see full coverage.