Spokesman explains Hick’s “drill-the-living-daylights” quote

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Today’s New York Times magazine features a profile of Governor-elect John Hickenlooper, concluding that, if Hick does “well” and is re-elected in 2014, then “it’s not hard to believe” that there will be “murmurs” about a Hick presidential run in 2016.

That’s a convoluted way to say the murmurers have already started murmuring.

But there was more in the article to murmur about, especially if you’re a murmuring environmentalist or a murmuring person of any kind, for that matter. (Sorry, I like typing “murmur.”).

NYT Reporter Frank Bruni quotes Hickenlooper as saying “we should drill the living daylights out of natural gas and cut regulation.” Bruni adds that the Gov-To-Be also considers himself an “environmentalist.”

It’s a 13-word quote in a loooong article, and Hick has said similar things before. But, still, he’s getting close to “drill, baby drill’ here.

So I emailed Bruni to find out if Hickenlooper might have added a couple dozen other words in their conversation that put the “living daylights” quote in more context. Unfortunatley, I did not get a response.

So I asked Alan Salazar, who will be Hick’s chief policy and political director, what Hick meant. Was there context that was left out?

He emailed me:

“Context was lost in what John would acknowledge was a clumsy reiteration of what he consistently said on the campaign trail, namely that we ought to push natural gas enthusiastically and adjust regulations that aren’t proven to be efficient or effective. But regulations that are necessary for protecting public health and the environment have to be upheld. It’s always a matter of balance and keeping an open mind to what works. John recalls making this latter point (as he did whenever the topic came up on the campaign trail) to Mr. Bruni, but it didn’t make the story.”

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Middle of the Road says:

    I must confess, that additional commentary from Hick’s office does little to reassure me.  

  2. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I always do that so that anyone who wants more details or context can listen to the whole thing.

  3. His environmental record leaves much to be desired in terms of consistency. Bill Ritter leaves particularly large boots to fill on environmental issues. If Hick isn’t pro-environment and isn’t going to be a clean energy Governor like Ritter, I’d rather see him just come out and say “Look, I disagree with the notion that environmental protections are ever of enough importance to risk job losses with unemployment as high as it is right now.”

    Or, if he’d rather go on as he has been, he could always host a waffle breakfast as his first reelection fundraiser. Dress code: flip-flops.

  4. Meiner49erMeiner49er says:

    “presidential murmurings?”  

    People said the same thing about Bill Owens back in his first term as our Governor.

    Look how that turned out!

  5. But people tend to speculate upon a rise to power.

    I think that Mike Bennet was born in India.

  6. I wouldn’t expect him to roll over for O&G, or for anyone really.  He’s got a way of getting things done without really offending vested interests.  The NYT article focused on Hickenlooper’s quirkiness, and it is an asset. The city’s running well, budget deficits have been closed, infrastructure improvements made, and some unique programs have been started: Denver’s Road Home, the UN bikes, DOCA.  

    A Denver mayor doesn’t deal with many environmental issues.  But I can’t see Hick trashing the groundwater or air for some natural gas revenue.  Doesn’t fit.    

    • Sage Sam says:

      is a small part of the concern.  Being an unabashed cheerleader of the oil and gas industry is an entirely different problem.

      For those of us living in the gas patch, we’ve spent nearly the past 15 years under siege.  We’ve watched our land, water, air and quality of life irreparably harmed and our heritage sold off to the highest bidder.  For the leader of our state to say that somehow we need to cut the already marginalized regulations that we’ve fought so hard for in order to facilitate unfettered development is sickening.  

      I don’t think most folks sharing my mindset expected Hickenlooper to be as good as Ritter in terms of protecting our interests.  However, he has repeatedly shown himself to be completely out of touch with the on-the-ground reality of what is happening.  People are getting sick and dying, they’re being driven off their land and the natural amenities which we hold so dear are being destroyed.  

      We all understand that development will and should occur, but it should occur in the right manner.  That means regulating it and ensuring that it happens in a prudent manner.  Flippant statements to the contrary do nothing but further exacerbate an already ugly situation out here across the Cowboy Curtain.

      I am hopeful that Hickenlooper will come to understand the gravity of the situation and soon realize that regulations haven’t harmed the oil and gas industry whatsoever and if anything, they need to be further strengthened.

      • I hear the concerns you raise Sage Sam.  I can’t say I understand, because I don’t live there and don’t have your perspective.  (What’s the Cowboy Curtain?) I agree with you about the need for strict environmental protection.

        I think Hickenlooper is a low-drama guy who wouldn’t publicly chastise an industry or

        fight them.  He’s not a fighter.  I do see him working behind the scenes, talking with industry and environmental groups, working out solutions. The image of someone willing to sell out to O&G just doesn’t square with the mayor I’ve been watching for 7 years. What do other Denverites think?

        • Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

          but I will add this to Sams’point.

          To some people, the rhetoric of politics seems to be almost as important as the substance of it. That is unfortunate, in that it leads many to place an undue importance on what is said. It is so, I think, because every political opponent recognizes the advantage of turning their opponents words against them.

          Subsequently, the environmental community in Colorado has become a little hypersensitive to what is said by our leaders. We’ve been burned before.

          When we hear the Governor of our state using terms like “drill the living daylights”, we know what that means.

          It means that Governor Hickenloopers’ downtown friends are doing what you would expect them to do. They are bending his ear relentlessly to adjust his attitude and his perception to reflect their point of view.

          I think it is important to remember that our governor is a petroleum engineer. I am certain that he counts many friends among that horde of ambitious, influential executives that haunt the Capitol and City Hall. I am certain that Governor Ritter lost a few friends in the Republic tower when he decided to stick up for the “peeps” and not the “perps”.

          Governor Hickenlooper is now trying to walk that same tightrope. I don’t envy him the challenge, and I don’t know him well enough to guess which way he will swing. But he will be under enormous political, and personal, pressure to use the most encouraging (for the industry) rhetoric with which he can get away.

          I understand his desire to be perceived as “friendly to business”, but he is coming dangerously close to sounding like a spokesperson for COGA. According to a Dept. of Natural Resources report from a couple of years ago, the natural gas industry in Colorado accounts for less than 4% of our states’ economy. Every other aspect of Colorados’ “natural resource capital” is lessened by drilling and production activity.

          How about the other 96%, Governor?  

      • Middle of the Road says:

        Again, I’m hoping for the best from Hick but preparing myself for the worst.  

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        I live on the Front Range and we’re concerned about Hickenlooper’s grasp of Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area issues.  One issue that he seemed to not have a definite stand on was raising the level of Grouse Reservoir in Coal Creek Canyon by over a hundred feet.  Local residents are alarmed that the project will proceed without an adequate discussion of the costs and benefits of storing more water for Arvada.

        Hickenlooper got a free pass this election and is probably enough of centrist to coax some cooperation out of the Republicans on economic issues but the left has the same issues of trying to find shared values with him that they have with Obama.  Protecting the environment doesn’t seem to be one of them.

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