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June 21, 2019 06:54 AM UTC

Friday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”

–Leo Tolstoy


11 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

  1. This sounds about right

    "Part of Trump's plan is that we will soon, in the United States, going to start having experiences where you are eating dinner in a restaurant, and then Trump's ICE enforcers will come into the restaurant and pull someone out of the kitchen and most people will just continue eating like nothing happened that is wrong or aberrant. It will  be, 'Oh yeah, it's the ICE police, they're just dragging people off and putting them in buses and driving them to camps.' "




  2. SB-181 Fuck up.

    From behind the paywall at the Denver Business Journal

    'Colorado law has emerged as a surprise obstacle to state regulators hiring administrative law judges to help make decisions about permits for drilling new oil and gas wells.

    The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is rewriting policies to match  sweeping oil and gas regulation reforms passed in April  by the state legislature.

    Senate Bill 181 included a provision allowing the COGCC to hire administrative law judges, or ALJs, and have them review some permit applications, resolve mineral rights disputes and similar matters.

    Using ALJs would allow the COGCC staff to tackle a backlog of more than 6,300 well-drilling permit applications built up at the agency. It also would, according to   COGCC executive director,  free the COGCC’s nine-member commission to undertake regulatory rulemakings required by SB-181  about allowing more local-government say in well locations, addressing the cumulative health and environmental impacts of drilling, and increasing public transparency about the location of oil and gas well infrastructure.

    But the COGCC says it can’t hire ALJs because Colorado’s administrative procedures law doesn’t authorize the COGCC to employ them.

    The COGCC likely will ask the state legislature to amend the administrative procedures act and allow the COGCC to hire ALJs, but the legislature is not in session to amend state law until January.

    “Essentially, the COGCC is on hold with it until that happens,” said COGCC spokesman  Travis Duncan .

    The COGCC pressed ahead this week with two days of public hearings about its proposed procedural changes for permitting decisions.

    The agency proposed empowering hearing officers the COGCC already has on staff — all of whom are lawyers — to make binding permitting decisions just like future ALJs would.

    Such staff-level decisions would be final if they weren't appealed within 20 days to the full COGCC commission for reconsideration.

    The changes were expected be the easiest part  of adapting to SB-181 , but the obstacle in state law and an unexpected amount of public reaction to the proposed changes are making it anything but simple.

    Hearings held Monday and Tuesday drew hours of public comment.

    Lawyers representing oil and gas companies expressed unease about the COGCC creating rules that treat COGCC hearing officers the same at administrative law judges, which under state law must be attorneys with at least five years of law practice.

    The COGCC commissioners ended the hearings without deciding on the rule-change proposal, postponing a vote until its July hearings at the earliest.

    Opponents of drilling testified that the COGCC should take up the high-profile public health and climate-protecting rule changes mandated by SB-181 first, not write new rules allowing the COGCC’s professional staff to approve drilling permits.

    Some anti-fracking activists labeled the plan a fast-tracking of permitting that contradicts SB-181.

    Aany argued the COGCC should stop issuing new drilling permits until other rule changes required by SB-181 are complete.

    Not establishing a permit moratorium would be “reckless, dangerous and, we believe, illegal,” argued  Dan Leftwich , a lawyer who testified on behalf of anti-fracking group Colorado Rising, concerned neighborhood residents in Adams County and other groups.

    “Permitting cannot go forward until this commission can demonstrate — based on science and for the record — that it is protecting health, safety and the environment, as the law requires,” he said.

    Some supporters of oil and gas urged the COGCC to assign at least one ALJ or hearing officer to work from a location in western Colorado, possibly added to a COGCC office in Rifle.

    There are large natural gas fields in northwest and southwest Colorado. Technical drilling concerns and land-use questions in those areas — where wells often are on federal lands — are different from the permitting of wells in oil fields on private land in the Denver-Julesburg Basin north and east of Denver, according to the supporters.'


    1. It seems like that is the proper priority.

      If the new legislation requires "rewriting policies to match  sweeping oil and gas regulation reforms", then permitting new wells should just be put on the back burner.

      IOW, it would be good thing to pause new drilling until we can be assured that drilling can be done without harming the environment.

      Admittedly the real issue is the larger one of speeding up the transition away from carbon energy sources. Adding costs to extraction and subsidizing renewables is one way of doing that, but that requires improved laws.

      For one, How about matching or beating the Wyoming's extraction tax?

  3. WOTD from Juan Cole: "Hopeless Ignorance of Sunni & Shiite, Iran and Taliban"

    The Taliban ideology grew up among orphans and refugees during the period when 3 million Pushtuns were displaced by the Soviets to Pakistan and were put in seminaries or madrasahs that had strong Saudi influence.

    It is well-known that 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the 911 attacks were from Saudi Arabia. It is not generally known that the Saudis heavily finance radical imams and the spread of the Wahabi branch of Islam across the Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world.  

    Latest Sri Lanka arrest throws spotlight on Wahhabism in eastern hotbed

    Salafism, a puritanical interpretation of Islam that advocates a return to the values of the first three generations of Muslims and is closely linked to Wahhabism, has often been criticized as the ideology of radical Islamists worldwide. 

    Wahhabi Islam has its roots in Saudi Arabia and is backed by its rulers, although Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has committed the kingdom to a more moderate form of Islam.

    Over the years I've noticed similar references to Saudi financing of radical Imams in other countries such as Egypt. For some reason this information is reported in isolation rather than consolidated. 

    According to this Wikipededia Article, Islam has 1.8 Billion adherents, 80-90% Sunni, 10-20% Shia, and 1-2% Wahabi and other sects. Radical Islamists make up a very small percentage of Muslims. 

    The two main drivers of conflict: Radical Islam, and the Sunni-Shia-Wahhabi competition in the Middle East.

    In that context, why does the United States makes alliance with Saudi Arabia?

  4. In the famous words of Gordon Gecko:  "Greed is good"

    When Trump visits his clubs, money follows as government agencies and Republicans pay to be where he is

    President Trump has made 126 visits to his properties, despite pushback from some of his aides who worry about the appearance he is putting taxpayer money into his own pocket.

    Trump has rebuffed such warnings and has suggested holding next year’s Group of Seven meeting of world leaders at one of his resorts, current and former White House aides say.

  5. Re: Iran.  My guess is that Iran threatened to retaliate with a cyber attack against the US.  Per David Sanger  in “The Perfect Weapon”, Iran has infiltrated with malware our “banks, trading systems, oil and water pipelines, dams, hospitals, and entire cities.”  After all, we attacked them first with Stuxnet.  

  6. If you're having trouble loading the site right now, we apologize. A WordPress upgrade this morning seems to be causing trouble and we're working on a fix. Thanks everybody.

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