Editorial: Siphoning Shell's plan to leave Northwest Colorado

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Editorial board:

• Noelle Leavitt Riley, Craig Daily Press managing editor

• Renee Campbell, Craig Daily Press general manager

• Amy Fontenot, Craig Daily Press office/circulation manager

• Randy Looper, owner of the Elk Run Inn

• Amanda Field, Wells Fargo home mortgage consultant in Craig

• Ken Wergin, retired

Shell’s recent decision to slowly leave Northwest Colorado has sent shivers down the spines of business owners, government officials and residents.

It’s difficult to foresee what kind of economic impact the pullout might have on this area.

The oil’s company decision comes after it reported a 60 percent dip in its second-quarter earnings, forcing the energy giant to re-evaluate its business plans across North America.

We believe that the local economy should brace itself for financial difficulties, especially in the lodging industry. A good portion of hotel business in Craig comes from Shell.

However, the economic impacts might be short lived if Moffat County can find another big oil player to fill the void. It’s our hope that government officials and local economists diligently recruit other companies to set up shop in the northwest corner of the state.

Although we’re sad to see Shell go, we think their exit provides a great opportunity for local constituents to think past oil production and start implementing various plans that are already in the works for renewable energy required by federal law and tourism.

Moffat County has numerous hidden treasures that remain a draw for tourism, including Dinosaur National Monument, exploration along Yampa River, hunting and the area’s amazingly diverse and intricate museums.

Additionally, the Wild West flare is continuously ignited by county fairs, rodeos and various agricultural activities. We believe that Moffat County can weather the situation, as long as proper planning is in place.

Shell has been good to Moffat County, adding jobs to the area and resurfacing an 8.5-mile section of Colorado Highway 317 east of Hamilton — a $6 million project — among many other attributes.

Let’s put our heads together and find a way to work through the economic difficulties that this unexpected news might bring. If done properly, we might be better poised for success.

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