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March 02, 2012 08:32 PM UTC

Hickenlooper To Enviros: Mea Culpa, Sort Of

  • by: Colorado Pols

Can’t see the audio player? Click here.

FOX 31’s Eli Stokols:

Gov. John Hickenlooper Thursday looked to explain his decision to celebrate fracking in a radio ad on behalf of the oil and gas industry, and to apologize to environmental groups who were upset by it…

Hickenlooper explained that the ad was meant to celebrate the new rule, agreed to last year by both the oil and gas industry and environmental groups, that forces companies to disclose more of the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, a process in which a water-sand-chemical mix is shot deep beneath the ground to loosen mineral reserves for extraction.

“The oil and gas industry asked if we’d do some sort of an ad celebrating this compromise,” Hickenlooper said. “It wasn’t about celebrating oil and gas, it was celebrating this compromise. And we said sure.

What we should have done is reached out to the environmental community and asked if they were okay with the language. A few tweaks here and there and I think they would have been fine. Certainly, they would have appreciated being asked in advance.

“So I take that. That’s my fault.”

The problem raised by environmental advocacy groups in their letter to Gov. John Hickenlooper was with the specific verbiage in the ad, as voiced by the governor, saying Colorado has “not had one instance of groundwater contamination associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing” since new rules were passed several years ago. Environmental groups contended that this language attempted to semantically paper over a large number of spills and other accidents affecting groundwater by the industry during this same time period.

“But there are no examples of fracking, frack fluids getting into groundwater in Colorado, from the actual fracking – when you’re drilling the well and doing the immediate frack.” [Pols emphasis]

Hickenlooper is probably correct that the groups who called him on this ad could have corrected the language he used in a way that wouldn’t have ruined the ad’s value, even to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association. That is, unless a false sense of security about “fracking” was the point? The longer explanation Hickenlooper gave Eli Stokols above does make sense.

But you could make the case that it underscores the problems with the original wording.

Which is still on the air, isn’t it?


27 thoughts on “Hickenlooper To Enviros: Mea Culpa, Sort Of

    1. I heard it this morning on the Colorado portion of NPR. He said a guy from Chevron took a big swig and then he did, too. That it’s food grade additives.

      1. the Feds require them for offshore drilling. The industry doesn’t like to use them because they don’t produce as much gas as the toxic variety.

        Hick may have consumed some liquid someone CALLED fracking fluid…but I’ll bet it wasn’t Zetaflow.  

          1. someone has convinced him that the industry will leave Colorado unless he single handedly makes Coloradoans all warm and fuzzy about Fracking.

            I guess the man just isn’t very smart.

  1. but after reading through this interview Hickenlooper gave to CPR in September 2011, I tend to think his latest spin is just that…pure bullshit spin.

    PHILIP DAVIS, Hotchkiss farmer: What do you say to people of Garfield County, who believe that fracking has polluted their ground water and resulted in serious diseases? What do you say to the people of Mesa and Delta counties, who depend on a clean environment, who feel powerless against Big Oil and look to their state government to balance the scales and to protect our environment and who are confident that the environmental impacts of fracking are not adequately understood at this time?

    Warner: Multi-part question there, but what do you say?

    Hickenlooper: Well, there is a great deal of fear out there about fracking. People are– don’t understand it. They’re concerned.

    Warner: Is it justified?

    Hickenlooper: I don’t think so.

    1. Hmmmmm.

      Environmental groups didn’t even know about the ad until it aired and the ad doesn’t reference the agreement but waxes poetic about the how harmless drilling next to your water well is.

      I would still like to know how he decided to personally do the ad.  Doesn’t he have enough to do as governor?


  2. Listen to my story of a Gov named Hick

    Elected by default when the other side was sick

    Thought it was a mandate though there was no other choice

    Now he pisses off his base with the power of his voice.

    Talking about gas, that is.  Fracking gold.  “Tastes like tea.”

    Well, the next thing you know, ol’ Hick is primaried

    Enviros up in arms, along with anyone who reads

    “A tiger cannot change his stripes” is the only thing he pleads.

    And Colorado up in flames is his lasting legacy.

    Gas wells.  Toxic taps.  Not the gov we’re looking for.

  3. If anything he should be quiet and keep his head down on the oil and gas controversies occurring in Colorado right now.

    Unfortunately, the Gov has made his intentions clear over the last year. From lending his voice “to celebrate” a fracking rule that does not go far enough, to signing an executive order which allows McNulty and his industry stooges a soap box to scream about land use regulations in the state.

    He isn’t about standing up for the citizens and their lands, it is about money, money and, oh, mo’ money. It is difficult to draw any other conclusion from his actions except that Hick wants McNulty to garner millions of dollars from oil and gas interests so the Gov may stay above the political fray and the state can continue to reap the oil and gas whirlwind.

    It would seem that for the next few months, the Senate is the only way to keep the Governor accountable to the basic beliefs, not only of the Democratic party, but of Coloradans everywhere.

      1. I was just thinking the same thing. Ritter went over and checked out Garfield County early on into his term as governor, came back horrified and informed and did more to protect the environment in this state than any other governor I can think of in recent history.

        Maybe Hick needs to leave Denver once in awhile, skip visiting the high end ski resorts and head out to the western portion of our state and get a clue. Either that, or he can always look forward to getting a primary. I’m starting to find myself entertaining that thought…

        1. I’m extremely disappointed in Hick, and I promoted him when he was running. I LIKED his ideas about economic development when I first heard them. The concept of doing bottom up planning and regional economic development plans is a good concept.Now I know that he was only thinking about one industry. Other Colorado industries will get screwed when Colorado’s mountains are turned into oil shale strip mines and the streams are diverted into fracking operations instead of fishing holes, Colorado wine and juicy sweet peaches. Good Job, Hickey.

        2. Republicans win if there’s a D primary. Hickenlooper knows this. I’m very disappointed that the Guv has sided with industry rather than constituents. Of course, the Guv argues that the industry is a constituent too, but what he fails to grasp is that his actions  help the Republican raise funds from the fringe elements of the oil and gas industry. Money is power and the most money today is coming from SG, Noble, Encana, Chevron…

          I have voters remorse with Hick and would enjoy having a Gov who favors locals and the land rather than industries and business. There’s a balance to every political equation and Hick is dangerously on the wrong side of the oil and gas issue.  Pretty soon he’ll be putting political capital in backing McNulty and Harvey’s idea that there should be no local input in regulating the oil industry.  

          1. With all due respect, I am getting tired of this refrain that if we challenge a sitting Democrat – no matter how awful he/she is, the Republicans will win and that will be the end of the world. Consider Wisconsin and Ohio. Republican victories in the face of the general apathy of the electorate generated a new awareness and involvement in politics not seen in years.

            We need to recognize the Hickenlooper is not a Democrat. Just 20 years ago he would have been a pretty run of the mill Republican (not even a liberal Republican). Tha hard right swing in the partly has pushed a large number of “moderate” Republicans out. While the average moderate Republican voter can survive quite nicely as an independent or non-affiliated, there is no future for someone with political aspirations as an independent. So, they become Democrats. And, we let them in and elect them – regardless of their policy positions.

            1. It would be nice to see a real Dem in the seat. It might be true what you say, but a primary challenge would be tough for a D. I can think of maybe a few people who would be able to rise to the challenge and win.  

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