The oil and gas of their discontent: Will 10 energy-rich, conservative Colorado counties break off to form the 51st U.S. state?
By David Martosko PUBLISHED: , 12 July 2013
Votes in the Colorado General Assembly and the U.S. Congress and a referendum of all Coloradans are all that stands between 10 counties in the Rocky Mountain State and the dream of breaking off to form the 51st U.S. state. If that sounds difficult, it’s because it is.
But county officials in 10 of Colorado’s 64 counties are talking about founding ‘North Colorado‘ and asking for formal recognition as a state.
The squabble is about more than just an urban-rural divide that pits conservative farmers and ranchers against liberal city slickers. It’s also about money.
An estimated 80 percent of the oil and gas revenue in Colorado comes from the group of counties that are pondering secession.
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Spirit of the West: Many of Colorado’s hardscrabble rural residents favor breaking off to form their own state, but plenty of obstacles stand in the way
‘North Colorado’ would consist of twn counties – and maybe more – in Colorado’s northeast corner
Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway told CBS4 in Denver that ’70 per cent of the K-12 funding’ for education in Colorado ‘is coming off the state lands in Weld County alone. I’m telling you, we are economic drivers.’
‘We need to figure out a way to re-enfranchise the people who feel politically disenfranchised now and ignored,’ Conway added.
In November a mini secession movement in Texas sparked a mad rush to file petitions on the White House website, with all 50 states being represented in less than a week by unofficial requests to secede from the union, The Daily Callerreported then.
And Vermonters bring up threats of secession about twice each decade, although the movement has never gathered enough steam to threaten the state’s political establishment.
Talking it over: In town meetings like this one in Weld County, Colorado, county executives are laying out plans for secession and hearing from constituents about the idea
North of the border, the Canadian province of Quebec – which borders Vermont to its south – has seen its own breakaway movement, motivated by many native Francophones’ quest for their own national identity.
If Coloradans in the state’s rural northeast should manage to break away from the rest of the state, it would be the fifth time in U.S. history that a new state has been carved out from another existing one
The land that makes up West Virginia was once part of Virginia, but it became its own state in 1863 when it seceded. Virginia also lost additional territory on its eastern front when Kentucky was created. Maine was originally a part of Massachusetts when the 13 original British colonies declared their independence.
What’s it all about? Most of the state’s energy revenue comes from state-owned lands in the disaffected counties – money that pays for policies that the region’s voters don’t like
If Colorado’s secession-minded activists should fail – as most observers think they will – to win their independence through a legislative vote in Denver, the say-so of voters and the approval of Congress, they do have a backup plan.
CBS News reports that the 10 county commissioners have discussed diluting the legislative power of their state’s urban regions by launching a ballot amendment that would redefine the makeup of the state Senate.
A ‘yes’ vote majority would result in scrapping the 35 existing Senate districts in favor of a system that would award a Senate seat to each of the 64 counties.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2362079/The-oil-gas-discontent-Will-energy-rich-conservative-Colorado-counties-break-form-51st-U-S-state.html#ixzz2YrK1fM3d
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