Call Your Senator – Refuse Rex Tillerson as Sec/State

Rex Tillerson, Exxon CEO and Trump’s Nominee for Secretary of State, Accepting the Order of Friendship from Vladimir PUtin in 2013. Wikipedia Russia

Today, January 11, 2017, was the first day of hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFR) on the confirmation of Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. Tillerson evaded direct questions about if he would continue to press for removal of sanctions against Russia. He refused to denounce Russia’s human rights abuses of Syrian civilians.  He equivocated about whether climate change is caused by human activity. He seemed clueless about world affairs, outside of Russia. He played dumb about Russian hacking. And he gave little indication that he would act independently of his boss, Donald Trump.

The hearing will continue Thursday, January 12, and from that point the SFR can decide to move the nomination to the entire Senate for an up or down vote, or stall it in committee, effectively killing the nomination. We want Tillerson’s nomination to die in the SFR committee. If the SFR Senators get enough calls from their constituents, it can happen. Public pressure has prevented complete gutting of the Government Ethics Office, and has postponed several hearings that Trump originally wanted on 1/12/17


Five Reasons to Call Your Senator Now to refuse this nominee

  1. Exxon is the world’s #1 contributor to climate change. The company has known for 40 years that fossil fuel extraction and burning contribute to climate change, and it has spent 35 of those 40 years actively denying the science and lobbying to prevent worldwide action on climate change.  Meanwhile, Exxon factored warming seas into its calculations on Arctic oil extraction.
  2. Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State, would enter with huge conflicts of interest. Tillerson could reverse or make policy decisions about U.S. sanctions against Russia. Reversing sanctions would allow a $500 billion Arctic oil exploration deal to go forward, making Exxon and Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft rich, even if it makes the U.S. less safe. Tillerson himself owns $218 million in Exxon stock.
  3. The Arctic climate is fragile. It’s not just the risk of spills; methane and black carbon pollution from offshore oil development will increase global warming.

    Polar Bear on Arctic ice

    Expanded drilling would increase Arctic ice melt and decrease wildlife habitat. – Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  4. Tillerson has no experience in diplomacy . World diplomacy is not one giant business deal – there are very delicate situations in the world that need tact, knowledge, and patience.
  5.  Tillerson cannot be trusted to put the USA’s interests ahead of Russia’s or of Exxons –  as intelligence expert Malcolm Nance asked on MSNBC’s Joy Reid show, “Do we want a secretary of state who is going to be working hand in hand first and foremost for the U.S. and Russian petrochemical industries?”

Call your Senator on the  Foreign Relations Committee

Contact info:

  1. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)  @ Next election: 2022
  2. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee)(Chairman) Next election: 2018
  3. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) Next election: 2020
  4. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) Next election: 2022
  5. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) Next election: 2018
  6. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) Next election: 2020
  7. David Perdue (R-Georgia) Next election: 2020
  8. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) Next election: 2022
  9. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) Next election: 2022
  10. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) Next election: 2018
  11. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) (Ranking Member) Next election: 2018
  12. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) Next election: 2018
  13. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) Next election: 2020
  14. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) Next election: 2020
  15. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) Next election: 2020
  16. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) Next election: 2018
  17. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) Next election: 2018
  18. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) Next election: 2020
  19. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Retired, not yet replaced

Get More Smarter on Monday (December 19)

Don’t everybody go rogue all at once, now. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Weeks of huffing and puffing from so-called “Rogue Electors” or “Hamilton Electors” should come to a close today when the 538 members of the electoral college meet in states across the country today to officially cast their votes for President. Colorado’s nine Presidential electors will gather at the State Capitol today at noon for a ceremony that may or may not see Secretary of State Wayne Williams start punching people.

As Brian Eason reports for the Denver Post:

The “Never Trump” movement has sparked lawsuits in Colorado and elsewhere, and anti-Trump protests are planned at all 50 state capitols. Colorado’s protest is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The state’s delegates are scheduled to vote at noon at the state Capitol in Denver.

The odds of success seem vanishingly small. The Associated Press last week reported that it had interviewed more than 330 of the 538 electors and found little appetite — even among Democrats — for an Electoral College revolt.

And it’s not Democrats that the movement needs: it’s 37 Republicans from the 30 states in which Trump won the popular vote. That makes Colorado’s rogue Democratic electors irrelevant, aside from the symbolic value of solidarity with their Republican counterparts.

Colorado remains a focal point of electoral college dissent today — though protests are taking place all over the country — but it doesn’t seem likely that a Trump challenge will succeed. Of course, it didn’t seem all that likely that Donald Trump could get elected President in the first place, so maybe we’re in for another 2016 surprise. Here’s a look at what could happen if enough electoral college members actually do go rogue today.

Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is speaking out against any effort from Hamilton Electors to avoid choosing Trump today. Ironically, we still don’t know if Gardner himself actually voted for Trump after calling on the GOP nominee to drop out of the race in early October.

 

► A bipartisan group of Senators continues to push for a quicker investigation into allegations that Russia influenced the 2016 election in the U.S. As Politico recaps:

Four influential Democratic and GOP senators on Sunday amplified their call for a special investigation into foreign cyberwarfare, defying Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has already ruled out a select panel to probe Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) urged McConnell in a new letter to create a Senate select committee on cyber, a panel that Schumer said would focus not only on Russian meddling but also potential threats from other countries, including China and Iran…

…McCain had previously called for a select committee specifically examining the Russian involvement into the election. But the Sunday call — amplified through Sunday show appearances, a news conference and finally, a joint letter — renews the scrutiny of the Russian interference that President-elect Donald Trump has dismissed as “ridiculous” and “just another excuse” from Democrats who lost on Nov. 8.

President-elect Donald Trump, meanwhile, indicated over the weekend that maybe Russian interference in the 2016 election was a good thing.

 

► You have until Midnight tonight to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare — for coverage beginning Jan. 1 — after Thursday’s deadline was extended to account for a heavy volume of interest.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 15)

Happy Bill of Rights Day! Catch up on your Colorado politics news while you wait in line to see the new Star Wars movie. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Evergreen Republican lawmaker Tim Leonard is still sitting in jail in Jefferson County…and House Republicans are still sitting on their hands. As the Colorado Springs Gazette reports:

Republican leadership in the state House of Representatives is still withholding comment beyond a statement issued last week about one of its members jailed Friday for contempt of court in a divorce dispute…

…Reached for a response Tuesday to Hullinghorst’s remarks, House GOP Communications Director Joel Malecka said the House Republican leadership regards the incident as a personal matter and that no further statements would be forthcoming. [Pols emphasis]

Leonard was just elected to his first full term in the legislature after being appointed by a Republican vacancy committee last January; now he is the first sitting legislator to serve time in jail in at least 40 years. This is indeed a personal matter…for the more than 50,000 voters in HD-25 who cast a ballot in November.

 

► Repealing Obamacare could lead to a national disaster. As CNN reports:

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Barack Obama’s secretary of Health and Human Services, told CNN Wednesday that dismantling the Affordable Care Act will hit millions of Americans’ healthcare coverage, result in a spike in premiums and unleash widespread uncertainty across the insurance market…

…”If there is repeal, there would be chaos,” Burwell said in an interview at a diner in Newark, New Jersey. “If your child is on your policy ’til 26, and it’s repealed, that goes away. If you have a pre-existing condition — asthma, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, any of those things — you could be kept off of insurance if you had to make a move or a transition or were unemployed for a portion of time.”

She added: “The 20 million folks who have gotten insurance — that would go away too.”

That 20 million figure is the estimated net increase of individuals insured through Obamacare. Many policy experts agree with Burwell that the law, now almost seven years old, is so massive and complicated that rolling it back would inevitably be a messy and disruptive process. [Pols emphasis]

Never fear! Congressional Republicans are totally maybe possibly going to come up with an idea to replace Obamacare at some point after they gut the healthcare law. But in the meantime, yay chaos!

 

► The U.S. Federal Reserve is trying to protect against Donald Trump making inflation great again. From Politico:

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised interest rates for only the second time in a decade with the prospect of as many as three more increases to come in 2017.

Central bank chair Janet Yellen suggested that she and her colleagues would keep their eyes on Trump’s plans for steep tax cuts and infrastructure spending, with the Fed poised to hike faster if the president-elect and the Republican Congress start pumping massive amounts of cash into the economy…

…The emerging Trump-versus-Yellen battle is in large part based on completely opposite views of the current U.S. economy.

The Fed sees unemployment at just 4.6 percent, a third-quarter growth rate of 3 percent and rising wages as signals that the economy is close to overheating. The central bank wants to bump rates back up to more normal levels over the coming years to prevent crippling inflation. [Pols emphasis]

 

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Throwback Thursday: Vladimir Putin Says, “Help Me Stay Rich!”

We took note back in August of 2014 of a mysterious public persuasion campaign waged on behalf of energy producers by a fly-by-night group called the Friends of Safe Energy. Wheatpaste posters with a QR code directing to viral videos appeared in downtown Denver near the state capitol and reportedly in other visible locations in the state:

The videos were meant to be snarky brags from Middle Eastern and Russian energy barons about spending your money acquired through energy wealth–but in addition to being light on facts about the sources of American energy, the ads were widely condemned as racially insensitive and xenophobic:

“Offensive. Insulting. Demeaning. (It’s) Stereotyped and stigmatized versions of people,” said Robert Hazan, the chair of political science at Metropolitan State University. “Unfortunately, (it’s) protected by free speech.”

Today, it’s enough to note that at least one of the foreign villains of this pro-domestic energy campaign, Russian President Vladimir Putin

(more…)

Beauprez Keeps Getting Dissed for Interior Secretary

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right) is only getting one response as he campaigns for Interior Secretary.

Former Congressman and two-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez really wants to become Interior Secretary under President Donald Trump. The feeling is apparently not mutual.

Beauprez’s name was floated as a potential Interior choice by the Colorado Springs Gazette a few weeks ago — though the only confirmation the Gazette received was from Beauprez himself. “Both Ways Bob” has definitely been working hard trying to get on Trump’s radar, and even managed to convince the Denver Post to publish a weird backhanded endorsement for the job.

But if there is a short list for Interior Secretary, Beauprez’s name does not appear to be listed. Late last week, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers was rumored to be Trump’s pick for Interior Secretary…until she wasn’t. McMorris-Rodgers apparently did not get the thumbs-up from Trump, and now Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke is the new favorite for the job.

All hope is not yet lost for Beauprez, however; it is not clear that Zinke actually wants the job of Interior Secretary, as Republicans had been grooming him for a potential U.S. Senate run against Democratic incumbent Jon Tester.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (December 14)

Canada has lost a great thespian; RIP Alan Thicke. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► A judge ruled against a request by some Colorado electoral college representatives that might have allowed them to cast votes for someone other than Hillary Clinton, who captured Colorado’s nine electoral votes in November. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post:

Colorado presidential electors who do not vote for Hillary Clinton as the winner of the state’s vote risk criminal charges after a Denver judge delivered the second setback in two days to an effort to block Donald Trump from winning the presidency.

Denver District Judge Elizabeth Starrs ruled that state law requires members of the Electoral College, when the body meets at noon Monday, to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who received the most votes in Colorado.

The order also granted authority to the Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, to replace electors who violate the law — essentially ending Colorado’s role in the “Hamilton Electors” movementto keep Trump from the White House.

Two of Colorado’s electors have filed an appeal to the federal judge’s ruling.

 

► President-elect Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he has selected ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to serve as Secretary of State. Tillerson’s nomination could face a stiff challenge from the U.S. Senate, where Republicans such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio have all expressed serious concerns about Tillerson’s close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) will get an early crack at making a decision on Tillerson; as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Gardner will vote on Tillerson’s nomination before he is considered by the full Senate. It is expected, however, that Gardner will just do whatever the oil and gas industry tells him to do.

 

Donald Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor has been less than secure about handling classified information. As the Washington Post reports:

A secret U.S. military investigation in 2010 determined that Michael T. Flynn, the retired Army general tapped to serve as national security adviser in the Trump White House, “inappropriately shared” classified information with foreign military officers in Afghanistan, newly released documents show.

Although Flynn lacked authorization to share the classified material, he was not disciplined or reprimanded after the investigation concluded that he did not act “knowingly” and that “there was no actual or potential damage to national security as a result,” according to Army records obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.

Well, that’s awesome. In the meantime, perhaps somebody in the Trump administration could convince the President-elect to actually listen to security briefings at some point.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Trump Confirms ExxonMobil CEO as Secretary of State Choice

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s choice for Secretary of State

On Tuesday, the transition team for President-elect Donald Trump made official one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington D.C. in the last week: ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is Trump’s pick to serve as Secretary of State.

It has been reported in numerous outlets that Trump and Tillerson could be in for a tough battle on the road to confirmation from the U.S. Senate. From FiveThirtyEight.com:

Russia will soon become an axis of conflict between President-elect Donald Trump and the U.S. Senate. Trump may have a difficult time securing Senate confirmation for Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, his pick for Secretary of State, because of Tillerson’s ties to Vladimir Putin and Exxon Mobil’s business interests in Russia. Furthermore, the Senate may soon launch an inquiry into possible Russian interference in the presidential election, something that Trump opposes.

Russia hasn’t been a focal point for policymaking in the Senate over the past several years outside of a few resolutions passed by unanimous consent. Therefore, there aren’t a lot of votes to indicate which senators might take the most hawkish positions toward Russia. However, we can look at two recent developments to get a sense for which senators might be most willing to hold the line against Trump…

Guess who makes the list of Republican “hawks” on Russia who could take a prominent role in Senate confirmation of Tillerson? Hint: His name rhymes with Mory Fardner:

There aren’t a lot of surprises on that list. It includes three of the most well-known Russia hawks in the Senate — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John McCain of Arizona and Marco Rubio of Florida — along with Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of the few Republicans to represent a state won by Hillary Clinton. [Pols emphasis] There’s also Portman, Pat Roberts of Kansas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Three of those Republicans — Rubio, Gardner and Johnson — are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which will vote on State Department nominees before their names go to the entire Senate. [Pols emphasis] Republicans will have just a one-seat advantage on the committee, so any GOP defections could potentially scuttle Tillerson’s confirmation.

What do I think about Rex Tillerson? Well, I’ll tell you, but…hey, look over there!

But as James Hohmann writes for the Washington Post, Gardner may be reluctant to oppose Tillerson’s nomination in part because he needs to raise big money from the oil and gas industry:

Cory Gardner will be reluctant to upset the energy industry, not just because he’s from Colorado but because as NRSC chairman he’ll need to aggressively hit up oil executives for money the next two years.

Is Rex Tillerson really a good choice for Secretary of State? Who cares so long as the oil and gas industry says so!

What does Sen. Gardner have to say about Tillerson’s nomination? As the Colorado Springs Gazette reports…not much:

We asked whether Gardner had a position yet on Tillerson and were told by Communications Director Alex Siciliano: “Senator Gardner will carefully consider whomever is nominated for Secretary of State on their merits, and their merits alone.”

Hopefully you weren’t holding your breath waiting for something more substantial from Gardner, who really just wants to make sure that Donald Trump takes him off of his “naughty list” for being completely unhelpful during the 2016 election. If Gardner is concerned about Russia’s growing ties to the incoming administration, don’t expect to hear it from him anytime soon.

 

Rick Perry Nominated for Energy Secretary

UPDATE: Perry’s selection as Energy Secretary is good news for Democrats in one regard. As “The Fix” reports:

Almost everyone — including Harry Reid — expected West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) to take a job in the Trump administration. Tuesday, Manchin said he was staying put…

…Manchin’s surprise decision to stay in the Senate and, presumably, to seek a second term in 2018 is a major break for Democrats who badly needed one. Had Manchin abandoned his seat, there is a roughly zero percent chance Democrats would have held it in November 2018. Manchin is a popular former governor who is regarded as apolitical, a necessary status in a state that Donald Trump won by 42(!) points in 2016. Even with his decision to run again, Manchin could face a real challenge from Reps. Evan Jenkins or Dave McKinley or state Attorney General Patrick Morrissey. But the incumbent Democrat will start a race against any one of that trio as a favorite.

—–

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry

From Politico:

On a presidential debate stage five years ago, Rick Perry blanked on the Energy Department’s name when trying to include it in a list of agencies he promised to abolish — memorably concluding with “oops.”

Now Donald Trump has chosen the former Texas governor to lead the sprawling department, which oversees the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons and has played major roles in President Barack Obama’s climate agenda and nuclear deal with Iran. Three sources close to the transition confirmed the choice Tuesday…

…The conservative Heritage Foundation last month urged the next president to eliminate vast swaths of the department, including all the research, development, regulatory and loan programs that the Obama administration has used to drive advances in green energy, as well as its 700-million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And last week, Trump’s transition team asked DOE to supply the names of all agency employees who had worked on Obama’s climate initiatives, a request that Democrats and former staffers denounced as a “witch hunt.”

Perry, the longest-serving governor in Texas history, also had the Energy Department in his sights during the 2012 presidential campaign, when he called for eliminating it as part of his program to shrink the federal government.

So, uh, Rick Perry is going to head up a department that he does not think should exist. This is like hiring Denver Broncos legend John Elway as the President of the Oakland Raiders.

Denver Post’s Bizarre Backhanded Endorsement of Beauprez

THURSDAY UPDATE: Sen. Cory Gardner adds some Marcomentum to Beauprez’s bid:

—–

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

Moments ago, the Denver Post’s editorial board released…well, the title makes it clear it’s an endorsement of two-time Colorado GOP gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez for Interior Secretary in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, but the content?

It’s not quite damning with faint praise, but…

We were glad to learn Beauprez had made President-elect Donald Trump’s list for the position that oversees federal lands, even if environmentalists were not.

Beauprez has gotten a bad rap in the environmental community, perhaps deservedly, [Pols emphasis] as a man who subdivided his parents’ farm into a sprawling housing development and golf course in Lafayette. And for his recorded votes in Congress to open up more federal lands for oil and gas leasing while reducing regulation surrounding critical habitats for endangered species.

Remember, folks, this is a newspaper with a longstanding editorial tradition at least somewhat in acknowledgement of fundamentals like science and critical thinking. And we are talking about a politician who says that climate change is a “complete hoax.”

But apparently, says the Post’s editorial board, that’s no problem! Because the world is going to hell anyway.

No seriously, that’s what they say:

It’ll be a stark transition for the nation’s public lands no matter who Trump taps as the next secretary of the interior. [Pols emphasis] For Colorado and the West, that transition will be made a bit easier by having someone in office who we know and trust.

With a few edits, this endorsement of Beauprez for Interior Secretary could made easily made into an editorial opposing his nomination. It’s not the first time the Post’s editorial board has left us scratching our heads as to the decisions that led to an oddly-worded backhanded endorsement, which are sometimes rumored to emanate from a higher level than the editorial board members themselves. If so, that could indicate Beauprez is a more serious candidate for the job than first thought, in which case we’ll be talking about “Both Ways Bob” much more going forward.

Either way, in this case not only is the Post again making an endorsement contrary to their stated editorial position on the pertinent issues, they’re straining their credibility to the breaking point to do it.

Beauprez Would “Very Much Enjoy” Interior Secretary Job

(God help us all – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

beauprezdemsfearIn what appear to be his most extensive comments yet on his possible appointment as Trump’s Secretary of Interior, former congressman Bob Beauprez told KOA 850-AM listeners this morning why he’d be a good fit for the job.

“This is where most of the federal land is,” Beauprez observed a day after ColoradoPolitics.com first reported that he was being considered for the job. “And I think, to get someone in that role who understands water, natural resources, land, wildlife, mixed-use of those lands and resources, I think it’s very important.  So, I’ve long thought that it might be a job that I would very much enjoy.  And I think my life as a rancher/farmer would fit the job very well.”

Beauprez, who lost his second gubernatorial race in Colorado in 2014, told hosts Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh that building pipelines like the Dakota Access project, is “something that has to happen,” but, as Interior Secretary, he’d like to find a compromise that “everybody can live with.”

“I know that the Indan tribes have had some concerns about their sacred lands,” said Beauprez. “And those, I think, are legitimate concerns.  The important thing, I think, in a job like that is to try to find a good compromise that everybody can live with.  But I’ve long thought that we needed to improve – and I’m not alone on this.  We need to improve the transportation infrastructure for our oil and gas reserves, as well.  So, building pipelines is something that has to happen.  And in the West, where we’ve got so much federal land, that land is going to be part the mix.  No doubt about it.”

Beauprez said there “has been some limited communication between myself and some of the folks that are part of the transition process.”

He said on air that he’s spoken with people “very close” to both Trump and David Longley Bernhardt, who’s apparently from Colorado and part of the Trump transition team.

Beauprez said his wife, who he referred to as his “biggest cheerleader” is supportive of his joining the Trump Administration.

Joe Salazar Joins Dakota Access Pipeline Protest

Rep. Joe Salazar.

Rep. Joe Salazar.

A local angle on a story making headlines across the country, after police in North Dakota used water cannons in freezing weather on protesters sending many to the hospital. CBS4 Denver reports:

Protesters are trying to block the construction of the 1,100-mile oil pipeline. They say it threatens drinking water on the nearby American-Indian reservation. Some Coloradans are part of the protest, and one Colorado state lawmaker plans to join them.

The Dakota Access Pipeline stretches from oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois. It’s largely complete except for a section that runs under a Missouri River reservoir near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The tribe went to court to stop it, but lost. Protesters aren’t giving up and police are cracking down.

“It’s 10 degrees outside and they’re spraying people down with water,” said Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton.

After watching the standoff in North Dakota unfold for months, Salazar says he can no longer stand by.

As CBS reports, Rep. Salazar played a key role in killing legislation that would have granted oil companies eminent domain rights to construct pipelines, so his interest in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline makes sense. Supporters of the pipeline argue that it’s a much safer and cheaper transportation method than oil trains, but the Standing Rock Sioux cite both treaties and environmental threats in their determined protest.

Wherever you stand on the issue, water cannons in the bitter North Dakota cold don’t seem like a good idea.

We Give Up: Bob “Elk Whisperer” Beauprez Considered For Interior Secretary

"Both Ways" Bob Beauprez (right).

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

That’s the news sending palms crashing into foreheads around Colorado this Monday evening: two-time Colorado gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez, one of the most spectacular failures in our state’s modern political history, is being “considered” by Republican President-elect Donald Trump for the job of Secretary of the Interior! As GOP metaspox “reporter” Dan Njegomir is excited to announce from the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette:

Colorado Republican former congressman Bob Beauprez confirmed reports today that he is among those under consideration to become the Trump administration’s secretary of the interior, a Cabinet post of pivotal importance to Colorado and the West…

Reached for comment this afternoon, Beauprez—a former dairy farmer, current bison rancher and businessman who made two runs for governor and remains a state GOP mover and shaker—expressed enthusiasm for the position but stressed his inclusion on the list of prospects is very preliminary…

Bob Beauprez’s second failed bid for governor in 2014 was one of the nastiest campaigns in recent memory, slinging so much mud at the popular incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper that it backfired–costing Beauprez votes in an otherwise very good election for Republicans in Colorado and nationally. Along the way to Beauprez’s second loss two years ago, his long history of militant whackadoodlery, “birther” blatherings about President Barack Obama, and gaffes like claiming that 75% of African-American pregnancies end in abortion were all revisited in media coverage.

Elk (left) and Bob Beauprez

Elk (left) and Bob Beauprez

With regard to the environmental and land use policy Beauprez would direct as Interior Secretary, he managed to position himself well to the right of Hickenlooper–already known as one of the most energy development-friendly Democratic governors in America. In 2006, Beauprez was lampooned for his suggestion that elk could be “trained” to avoid oil and gas production sites (see title).

And in 2009, Beauprez wrote in his book A Return To Values that climate change “at best a grossly overhyped issue and at worst a complete hoax foisted on most of the world.”

The only thing we can say about this news that the same Bob Beauprez Colorado politics has known for so many years is being considered for Secretary of the Interior, is that like Trump’s choice of the white nationalist chief political strategist, the National Security Advisor who calls one of the world’s great religions a “cancer,” and the Attorney General who said the KKK was “okay” until he realized they “smoke pot,” Beauprez is the absolutely perfect choice for the job of the nation’s chief protector of our land and water and people.

And by perfect, we of course mean perfectly disastrous.

In CD3 race, Schwartz and Tipton radio interviews reveal contrasts on public land management positions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gail Schwartz.

Gail Schwartz.

During separate interviews broadcast last Wednesday on KSJD (91.5 FM, Cortez), host Austin Cope questioned the two major party candidates running for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District seat, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and former legislator and CU Regent, Democrat Gail Schwartz from Crested Butte. Their answers highlighted one of the more contentious issues emanating from the coverage of their race: Schwartz’s attacks on Tipton’s record in protecting and managing federal lands in Colorado, and Tipton pushing back by characterizing her attacks as misleading or untrue.

In recent weeks, the CD3 race has gained unexpected attention, with a volatile campaign landscape in an unconventional and somewhat unpredictable presidential cycle, attracting late and significant increases in political spending from Colorado entities and out-of-state sources.

Schwartz has benefited from a surge in momentum in a district where Republicans were previously heavily favored.

The candidates’ contrasting policy positions on public land management have been highlighted in reporting and endorsements from an array of Western Slope and front range media outlets, including The Daily SentinelThe Durango Herald, Real Vail, The Pueblo Chieftain, The Colorado Independentand Colorado Public Radio.  

(more…)

Trump Blows Sunshine Up Big Oil’s Kazoo

UPDATE: Pete Maysmith at Conservation Colorado’s statement:

This is just another example on the never-ending list of how wrong Trump is for Colorado and our values. From not being able to articulate a plan for protecting our public lands to saying he would appoint an oil executive to the Interior Department and now this, Trump couldn’t be positioning himself further away from being a leader who will champion and support our Colorado way of life. It’s clear that oil companies and special interests will benefit the most from a Donald Trump presidency, not everyday Coloradans.

—–

J.R. Ewing.

J.R. Ewing.

Politico’s Elana Schor reporting from the 80s-chic office towers of the Denver Energy Center downtown, where Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spent this morning assuring the movers and shakers in Colorado’s energy industry that he’s on their side:

Donald Trump huddled Tuesday with oil and gas executives in Colorado, expanding his outreach to an industry that has seen its influence grow in the Republican nominee’s campaign after some early missteps.

Trump told the industry he would reduce regulations, in contrast to the approach of President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Safety and environmental rules are necessary, Trump told the executives, according to a pool report, but there are also “regulations that are totally unnecessary and put people out of work.” He apparently did not get into specifics in the 10 minutes reporters were allowed to stay in the room…

It seems that even behind closed doors with our local J.R. Ewing set, Trump is still firmly implanted in his own special bubble:

Trump’s meeting in Denver comes as two polls this week showed Clinton with an 11-point lead in Colorado. Trump brought up polls of the state and told the oil executives “we’re doing really well,” according to the pool report. [Pols emphasis]

Do tell! But speaking seriously for a moment, Trump’s off-the-cuff remarks about how local voter control over oil and gas drilling might be a good thing, like most Republicans usually say about “local control,” really hasn’t sat well with Colorado energy interests who find the ever-accommodating Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s oversight just fine thank you! A surrogate’s assurances that Trump didn’t really mean it haven’t helped calm jangled nerves on the subject. Might Trump’s whimsy-driven “populism” turn and bite them in the backside someday?

Relax, you’ve got nothing to worry about, oil guys! Because Trump is doing really well.

AG Coffman Shouldn’t Impede Colorado’s Clean Energy Future

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Yesterday the lawsuit to stop the President’s Clean Power Plan from moving forward began its oral argument in the court. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) is the EPA rule that seeks to limit carbon pollution from power plants under the authority of the Clean Air Act.

The lawsuit is backed by some 27 state attorneys general, including Colorado’s Cynthia Coffman, and lots of fossil fuel and utility interests. Colorado Public Radio recently gave a rundown on the CPP and the lawsuit.

Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman signed on with about two dozen other states to challenge a key provision of the Obama administration’s fight against global warming. It seeks to reduce carbon emissions 32 percent by 2030.

Climate is in the news for lots of reasons. Based on all the election coverage and sideshow reporting it might be easy to forget that the world goes on, for instance pollution still happens, aside from all this.

Recent news we might tune into includes the conclusion by some scientists that our planet’s atmosphere passed the 400 ppm of CO2 for good—a threshold well past the 350 ppm that some have long tied to a planetary tipping point.

The International Business Times reports:

Now, scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory have revealed another sobering finding. This September — usually a month when the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are at their lowest levels in the northern hemisphere, the level of the greenhouse gas remained stubbornly above the 400 ppm.

 

This measurement all but ensures that monthly carbon dioxide levels won’t drop below 400 ppm any time in the foreseeable future.

Still the lawsuit and arguments are taking up a lot of the space for climate news. In the CPR story listeners learn that Colorado’s state leadership is split on the Clean Power Plan:

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