Dan Njegomir, a former staffer for the Colorado Senate GOP and now a quasi-reporter at the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette, published a piece yesterday about former Gov. Bill Owens wading into a ballot measure fight in Broomfield over oil and gas drilling regulations:
You know the war over Broomfield’s anti-fracking proposal – or any pending ballot issue, for that matter – is heating up when a former governor steps into the fray. Republican Bill Owens, who served as Colorado’s chief exec until 2007, took to the airwaves and digital media this week with a video denouncing Question 301 on Broomfield’s November ballot.
In the video, Owens calls 301 “a deceiving measure” and a “cynical power play focused on blocking energy development.” The former two-term guv also assures viewers “Colorado already has the toughest oil and gas regulations in the U.S.”
In siding with the No on 301 campaign, Owens – who before his time in elective office ran the Colorado Petroleum Association – appeals to war-weary Broomfielders in his video:
“National outside groups are trying to turn Broomfield into a political battleground over oil and gas development – again,” he says as the video opens. “Well enough is enough.”
We assume that note you can see above that Owens was once the head of the Colorado Petroleum Association is supposed to be disclosure of the fact that he is not exactly a disinterested observer. But it’s also ancient history, a job Owens had literally decades ago. Much more relevant to voters in Broomfield would be Owens’ current job as a senior director in the lobbying office of Greenberg Traurig, the politically connected law firm made infamous by criminal lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Now, we don’t have a current list of Greenberg Traurig’s clients to know if any of them are a party to the controversy over oil and gas drilling near residential areas in Broomfield, but somebody should probably ask–after all, the firm’s energy division has dozens of full-time attorneys. Even if there’s no direct client relationship, readers know that energy interests sweat every single one of these popular vote proposals to restrict drilling, working overtime to defeat them in order to avoid ugly legal battles afterward that only leave the industry more unpopular.
We doubt there are very many voters in Broomfield who read the Colorado Springs Gazette, but writing a story that omits the one thing that really needs to be disclosed about the subject doesn’t help anyone sort out the facts here.
Which, considering the source, probably wasn’t an accident.