In Which a Statewide Vote of the People Becomes “Terrorism”

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

​The Denver Business Journal's Ed Sealover updates on the still-sputtering negotiations over a possible–but increasingly unlikely–special session of the state legislature to address local control of oil and gas drilling. The session, were it to be convened, would seek to pass legislation to forestall ballot initiatives to that could more strictly regulate the industry–from allowing local governments to impose larger setbacks between drilling and other development, to even banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") entirely within municipal boundaries.

As Sealover reports, it's pretty amazing what the oil and gas industry can get insiders to say on their behalf:

The Colorado Association of Home Builders' bipartisan lobbying team and six of its board members have resigned in response to the organization’s decision to support Gov. John Hickenlooper’s proposal to give cities and counties more regulatory power over oil and gas drilling.

The shakeup of one of the most powerful business-industry groups in Colorado — including statements by one of the resigned lobbyists that CAHB seems intent on appeasing a congressman that the lobbyist called a "terrorist" — comes as the governor has said he’ll only call for a special legislative session to consider the proposal if he gets enough support from interest groups to persuade Democrats and Republicans to get behind the plan…

“Governor Hickenlooper has chosen to appease terrorist Polis rather than stating in no uncertain terms that what he is proposing is devastating for Colorado’s economy and should be defeated,” [lobbyist Steve] Durham wrote. [Pols emphasis]

Lobbyist Steve Durham.

Lobbyist Steve Durham.

In truth, many of the conservationist groups supporting one or more of the ballot measures in question are displeased with Rep. Jared Polis for even negotiating with Gov. John Hickenlooper and the oil and gas industry–since they believe, and not without good reason, that a local control ballot measure can pass this fall. Despite this, Polis has expressed support for Hickenlooper's compromise bill, and offered to pull his support for the ballot measures if the compromise effort were to succeed. Without Polis' wealth to back these initiatives, they will naturally be more difficult to pass.

But to claim that pursuing a statewide ballot initiative, the most small-d democratic process that exists in this state or for that matter most anywhere, is tantamount to "terrorism" reveals just how far out of touch lobbyists like Steve Durham are. Our genteel local media is pretty good about sanitizing ridiculous statements like these before the public gets wind of them, so we suspect this won't see much publicity beyond the Denver Business Journal. If they're smart, Durham's friends in the oil and gas industry hope so–Durham might not care what anyone thinks of him, but voters get a little upset about being lumped in with "terrorism" for, you know, voting.

How much contempt does this industry have for the voters of Colorado? If Steve Durham is any indicator, a lot.

20 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

    Democracy = terrorism*

    * ( when it doesn't work for me)

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Hell, I've even registered voters – hundreds. Does that make me a terrorist recruiter or something?

  3. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    At the risk of jeopardizing any future aspirations for public office, may I offer two words to those who equate democracy with terrorism?  Fuck. You. (on second thought, I'll supplement it with nine more: …and that horse you rode in to town on)


    • SocialisticatProgressicat says:

      At the risk of jeopardizing any future aspirations for public office, may I offer two words to those who equate democracy with terrorism?

      That you could even write that and have people take meaning from it, either in seriousness or in jest, says so much about the state of the party of Lincoln, it's enough to make one weep.

  4. Ralphie says:

    Laws should not be made by the people.  They should be made in back-room deals.

    Works for me.

  5. CaninesCanines says:

    You can't say this guy who resigned, Durham, doesn't have principals:

    Lobbyist's Principals:



    City and State

    Start Date

    End Date


    Arvada CO 80002 US 




    Denver CO 80203 US 




    Denver CO 80202 US 




    Glendale CO 80246 US 




    DENVER CO 80203 




    DENVER CO 80210 




    Denver CO 80206 US 




    Denver CO 80207 US 




    Denver CO 80203 US 




    Denver CO 80203 US 




    AURORA CO 80011 




    DENVER CO 80216 




    Westminster CO 80031 US 




    Denver CO 80202 US 




    WASHINGTON DC 20005 




    Lewisville TX 75067 US 




    Denver CO 80203 US 




    Denver CO 80206 US 




    Westminster CO 80234 US 




    San Francisco CA 94103 US 




  6. Craig says:

    Steve Durham.  I thought he was dead. God, he was ancient when I was dealing with him in the 70's and 80's.  One of the original House Crazies of long ago.  I thought we ran all those guys out on a rail.  Alas, the memories.

    • Golden GirlGolden Girl says:

      I was just thinking the same thing!  In the 90's he became the special interests wheeler, dealer whore and one of the most unpleasant lobbyist under the dome.

  7. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    Bet officials urging citizens to vote for their counties to secede from the state because they don't like the state's democratically elected government aren't terrorists. Or officials urging their constituents to vote to recall elected officials not for any misconduct but because of the way they vote. Guess it's only terrorism if you aren't letting the corporate elite dictate whatever they want whether you like it or not. It's terrorism if you don't realize who your betters are.

    • ct says:

      Specifically Both Ways wants it, you guessed it, both ways.  He totally gets secession, and understands–hell–so much so civil war is possible…

      But local government and citizens having say over toxic industrial development in their very midst?  Nooooo!  

    • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

      This war is over.  Would someone tell the Repugs? 

      From Down Under:

      By the end of the decade, the idea of homes and companies getting close to self-sustaining regarding energy production and consumption will be the norm in the sunnier American states.


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