GOP Gubernatorial Candidates on Local Control: Yeah, Right

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

The Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover reports, not that there was ever much doubt, but for the record:

None of Colorado’s four Republican gubernatorial candidates support Gov. John Hickenlooper’s current effort to give local governments more regulatory authority over drilling operations in exchange for U.S. Rep. Jared Polis yanking down his nine proposed regulatory ballot initiatives, with all of them saying that doing so would be, in essence, capitulating to the wealthy Democratic congressman.

Only one of the quartet — former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo — said that he would be open to some measure of local control on some oil and gas issues, while another, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, said he believes drilling restrictions already are too harsh and should be rolled back in order to boost the energy economy in Colorado…

Hickenlooper, Polis and the state’s two largest drillers have agreed on a compromise proposal, but the governor is seeking more industry and business support — enough, administration sources say, to get a number of Republicans to vote for the bill — before he calls a special session.

If one of the four Republican gubernatorial candidates were in office right now, it’s pretty clear that no such negotiations would be underway. [Pols emphasis]

Of the four responses, we have to say that Tom Tancredo’s comes the closest to a reasonable position, at least acknowledging the desire of local communities to have some control over heavy industrial operations like oil and gas drilling within their boundaries. All of them employ Rep. Jared Polis as a scapegoat, although Sealover notes correctly that the resistance blocking the local control compromise legislation is from the energy industry.

As for Scott Gessler’s contention that regulations on oil and gas in Colorado are already “too strict” and should be rolled back to “boost the energy economy,” well, that’s the Honey Badger for you! That will almost certainly be a minority viewpoint among general election voters, but for the purposes of moving out of distant third place in this primary, Gessler’s ready to pander and pander hard.

Bottom line: Gov. John Hickenlooper’s friendly relations with the energy industry are a matter of record, about which we’ve had plenty to say in this space–the good, like bringing the industry and conservationists to the table for strong new air quality rules, and the bad like Hickenlooper’s dubious taste for fracking fluid. Fortunately for Hickenlooper, one of these guys will be the alternative in November–and there will be a clear, or at least clear enough, distinction.

27 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. SocialisticatProgressicat says:

    Gessler wins!  Honey Badger 2014!

    (in before Moddy)

  2. Urban Snowshoer says:

    The local control is political theater because, in reality,  very few people consistently support "local control."

    Mostly, people wave the "local control" flag when it something they support, and try to override local control when it's something they oppose. 

  3. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    I understand the angst by both sides, but in my personaly opinion neither gets a pass from me at the ballot box.  I'll be looking for a candidate that understands the industy's fugitive emissions and their contribution to climate change; I'll be looking for a candidate that vows to take on the issue of our obscene severance tax structure.  Will we ever tire of being robbed?  This is becoming a classic industry play.  The legislature can't deal with the severance tax without a referred measure – something neither side of the aisle will tackle.  The alternative would be for our Governor to exert his leadership (and ties to the industry) ala Ritter in 2008 when he promoted Amendment 58.  That isn't going to happen either.  So, while everyone points fingers at everyone else, the industry will benefit, to the tune of billions, extract the resource and be gone. And we'll be sitting here a decade from now, robbed, pants down and wondering what in the hell just happened.

    Local control can't fix the severance tax issue.  It can, however, start the 'reigning in' of the industry – and hopefully be a first step to the severance rate discussion.

    It appears at this point that I'll be an undervote unless something changes.

  4. ModeratusModeratus says:

    None of this would be happening if Jared Polis hadn't decided to extort the state. Everyone is working under the threat of Polis's ballot measures. You're damn right no Republican should support that, and if Hickenlooper wasn't terrified of Jared Polis's millions, he would say the same thing.

    • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

      I find it fascinating that you wholeheartedly support fracking and then at the same time claim Polis is extorting the state, with no sense of irony whatsoever.  Top shelf Moddy !

      • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

        Republicans go so far repeating the brainwashing they've been programmed with, they forget that they are supporting an industry that holds every property owner without mineral rights in the state hostage.

        You work for the bad guys, Moddy. How does that feel?

    • gertie97 says:

      Not to worry, Moddy. Your oil & gas masters will match Polis dollar for dollar.


    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      If you want to talk extortion, let's talk about this.  Or perhaps you have no effing idea what the word 'extortion' means.

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      The oil and gas industry is extorting the state, not Jared Polis. As Bowman has pointed out many times, the rate of severance taxes they pay in relation to profits made is ridiculous.

      There are several environmental groups behind these ballot initiatives, not just Polis. And, as I'm sure you've noticed, there is no consensus, even on here, as to which initiatives should go forward.  Polis is, at this point, financially backing only one or two of the ones that may make it to the signature-gathering stage.

      What all the ballot initiatives have in common is a concern for the health of rural Coloradans who have fracking and oil and gas production in their communities. There is plenty of evidence of negative health impacts on Coloradans from pre-birth, which you should as a pro-life person be concerned about, through elderly people. These effects include severe birth defects, asthma, cancer of various kinds, and elevated blood levels of toxins. If you want, I'll put all the links in, but I'm guessing that you have read, or at least seen, the articles and studies.

      The basic idea of "local control" is that communities should be fully informed of, and capable of making their own decisions about the possible health impacts on their citizens vs. possible economic benefits to their communities.

      How exactly is that "extortion"?



    • Diogenesdemar says:

      None of this would have happened if the oily boys were such a bunch of rapacious fucks, totally unwilling to exercise any minimal decency and restraint.   And, you know it!

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