Another Day, Another Democrat Sells His Soul To Big Oil

Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

Last Friday, opponents of Senate Bill 19-181, the bill to tighten protections for local communities from oil and gas drilling along with other reforms, trumpeted another opinion piece from a well-known retired Democratic politician assailing the bill as both economically and politically injurious–published by the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette from ex-Denver Mayor Wellington Webb:

We live in a time when “big industry” is the enemy of the people. We put a tax on the soda industry; claim the oil and gas industry is ruining our state, and a company like Amazon is destroying small businesses. What we don’t talk about is the freedom of choice and the jobs that get lost in the crossfire.

Yet, no one can deny the human loss when businesses do not follow safety protocol. My heart goes out to Erin Martinez who lost her husband, Mark, and brother, Joey Irwin, in a home explosion in Firestone in 2017 because of an uncapped flowline. That is a real issue.

Another tragedy is the economic impact to families when people lose their jobs to extreme regulation. Colorado voters already told their lawmakers in November they don’t accept regulations that handcuff the industry and lose production to other states…

Now folks, the likening of Erin Martinez’s suffering after her husband and brother were killed in a preventable explosion caused by the oil and gas industry to job losses that may or may not result from Senate Bill 19-181 is crass enough to deserve its own mention. But beyond that, Webb’s contention that voters last November rejected anything like the bill currently up for debate in the legislature is simply not accurate. 2018’s Proposition 112 mandated 2,500 foot setbacks between new drilling and surface development. Senate Bill 181 doesn’t address setbacks at all–it gives local communities more control over siting decisions, changes the rules of “forced pooling” to stop unwanted appropriation of mineral rights, and gets the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission out of the business of “fostering” oil and gas development.

So, there’s that. But as he was quick to point out when former Sen. Ken Salazar came out against Senate Bill 181 last week, 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark identifies an even more basic problem with Webb’s deceptive stand against this bill.

Just like Salazar, Webb is being paid to do it. The American Petroleum Institute sits on the top line of the Webb Group International’s client list. Just as Ken Salazar’s law firm represents leading oil and gas producer Anadarko Petroleum, Webb is doing paid advocacy work, trading on his Democratic bonafides to lobby for opposition to a Democratic bill on behalf of a client.

And as we said with Salazar, the last thing any Democrat should do is reward this.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Actually, the official name of that initiative was Stalinist 112.  And voters crushed it.

  2. Pseudonymous says:

    Yet, no one can deny the human loss when tens of thousands of sons and daughters, fathers and mothers die each year of opiate overdoses. That is a real issue.

    Another tragedy is the economic impact to families when people lose their jobs to extreme regulation. People don't accept regulations that handcuff the industry and lose production to other drug makers.

  3. Whiskey Lima Juliet says:

    In District 1, where my husband Scott Durrah ( is running, Scott has signed off on saying he will fight to ban fracking in Denver.

    Sadly, when the air quality in Denver is being compared to Bejing, it is sad to see Democrats fighting against our future and our health.  But hey money is important, right?  Is this what being a Democrat is about?

  4. Gray in Mountains says:

    Some who voted against 112 no doubt were motivated by economic fears, O&G made sure of that. I voted against 112 simply because there was no research supporting 2500'.

    I like 181

    • Voyageur says:

      181 has possibilities but I am confused by the pooling rules and suspect the local government cans will lead to a lot of lawsuits.  But I do think it is a good faith effort.  I'd much rather see it go to an interim committee and try to work out some ofvthose problems.

      • The pooling rules seem sane to me, not that I'm an expert. And while I think the local control could get too controlling as-is, it's no more than you'd have in any other industry.

        • Voyageur says:

          Here's my problem with pooling: what is a majority?  Assume on a quarter section, madco, duke, mj and dio each own a quarter-acre lot  I own the other 159 acres.  I want to develop the gas.  The four freeze in the dark guys refuse.  Does a majority of landowners rule or a majority of land?  Most corporate rules are one share, one vote.  This suggests two tiny investors can screw a major investor.   How do you read it?

          As to local control, remember the Colorado Supreme Court decision giving those reserved powers to the state.  Nimby's will have a field day but the federal fifth amendment still applies.  Won't the nimbies have to pay for the rights they confiscate?

  5. JohnInDenver says:

    I voted against the "one size fits all" 2500 foot set back.  It allowed no choice, did not take prevailing winds or geographic features into account, and had no option or appeal process.

    The Senate bill, mandating emission control and monitoring. and pushing regulation to the bodies with regulatory control for topics for any industry OTHER than gas&oil seems reasonable.

    I could do without the mandating of people with specific areas of expertise ON the commission, figuring the background ought to be provided by state employees to a diverse representation of commissioners.

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