Hickenlooper Working Against Democrats on Fracking Legislation?

Somewhere in here is my actual position.

As Fox 31's Eli Stokols reports, Democrats in the legislature are concerned that Gov. John Hickenlooper may be actively working against efforts to pass new fracking safety legislation. That Hickenlooper, an unabashed supporter of fracking, would undermine legislative efforts is not a total surprise — though they have a right to expect more frank conversations than the same old Hick Schtick:

“Most of the oil and gas companies are pretty unhappy with me as well,” Hickenlooper said in a interview Monday. “We’ve sort of found that sweet spot to make everyone a little bit angry.”

But Democrats, who control both legislative chambers at the Capitol, have introduced a wide range of proposals aimed at regulating the industry — and they’re not convinced that Hickenlooper isn’t working against them.

“My sense is we’re definitely facing a headwind,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, the sponsor of several oil and gas regulation bills. “Obviously, a lot of that is coming from the industry. But it’s hard to tell if the administration is also part of it.”

Foote points to an amendment he proposed during the long debate over the state budget to provide an additional eight state oil and gas well inspectors.

“Right now we have 16 inspectors to cover about 52,000 wells,” Foote told FOX31 Denver. “What we were trying to do is give them more people to do their job better. So that was surprising. It was kind of a ‘thanks, but no thanks.’

“I’ve never heard of a government agency turning down the prospect of having more people, but it did happen in this case.”

Hickenlooper is trying to play the tired card that "both sides are mad at me, so it must mean compromise," which is rarely that simple (and in this case, we suspect, largely nonsense because Hick has always been on the side of industry). To his credit, Stokols pushed to get more of an answer from Hickenlooper…and ended up with more political gibberish:

When asked if he or his administration has publicly opposed or lobbied against any of the Democratic oil and gas bills, Hickenlooper didn’t issue a flat denial.

“What we’ve tried to do is make each bill better,” he said.

As we've written before, the Hick Schtick has been overplayed to the point of being tedious. It's become transparently silly, and the fracking debate has exposed its flaws. You can't answer every question with a variation of "we are gathering facts and having conversations, blah, blah, blah." It's the same sort of mealy-mouthed approach that angered supporters of repealing the death penalty. This isn't leadership, and Hick shouldn't be surprised at the growing frustration in the legislature. Frustration does not always mean that both sides are compromising — sometimes it's just simple, plain old frustration.

If Hickenlooper ends up being cast as the primary obstacle to Democratic-supported legislation to make fracking safer, the fallout will go beyond this particular issue. One of the concerns Democrats have always had with Hickenlooper is that he tries so hard to be seen as a moderate compromiser (which he is not) that it is difficult to know where he stands on most issues. This is the biggest hurdle Hick would have if he truly was thinking about a potential run for President in 2016; try to picture the announcement of a Presidential run, and then ask yourself where his campaign is going to find 2,000 dedicated Democrats to fill a room.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Duke Cox says:


    Frackenlooper and Chris Urbina (CDPHE/ COGCC) have killed a health study bill related to fracking…


  2. The realist says:

    I've figured out why I get annoyed when people throw the Guv's name around for a possible future Presidential run.  He does not belong in the public sector – he fits better in the private sector. 

    Reminds me of the people that say "gubmint should be run more like a bidness."  Government is not business, it has a different bottom line from business, and cannot and should not operate the same way.

    Maybe instead of drafting the Guv for a Presidential run, some large corporation should draft him for a high-level corporate position.  It would be a better fit.


    • BlueCat says:

      Probably why all the so-called business man Presidents have been so wildly unsuccessful in bringing down debt and deficit or improving the economy for the majority. It's not a business. Running x like a business doesn't make much sense when x isn't a business.

      Hick doesn't seem to realize it isn't his job to advocate for corporate over other interests.  The big powerful corporate entities do their own advocating just fine. He is the people's Governor and, as such, should be seen as the people's advocate, all of them,  not just the wealthiest and most powerful. Dismissing the people's concerns with irrelevant parlor tricks in the course of rituals shared with a corporate elite is extremely unbecoming gubernatorial behavior.

  3. BlueCat says:

    As to the both sides are mad at me card, sometimes that's because what you're proposing stinks and nobody likes it. 

    Take the healthcare mandate with no public option availability. Please. The right doesn't like because it's Obamacare. Actually the whole mandate idea came form their think tanks so they should like it but don't. The left doesn't like it because it  forces us to buy from the same old blood sucking private insurers who still don't have to make quality, comprehensive coverage available at an affordable cost. The less affluent will just have to pay for whatever inadequate coverage they can afford and tax payers will pick up the tab when they get seriously ill.

    The fact that a majority, between the Obama hating right and the universal coverage advocating left, hate it doesn't make it a swell idea. Mandate without a pubic option is a travesty no matter how many people on both sides don't like it for whatever different, often opposing, reasons. I wish the I must be on to something because everyone is mad at me argument would be permanently retired.  Maybe there' s even a Latin term for nobody likes it because it stinks which EF could supply.

  4. Duke Cox says:

    I have a problem with your headline here, Pols. It should not end with a question mark.

    Hick will do nothing to risk his ascendant position amongst the big guns in the Chamber of Commerce. His Petroleum Club credentials are too important to him.



    “Most of the oil and gas companies are pretty unhappy with me as well,”


    Can someone show me where this sentiment has been expressed? One had to go not far to see evidence of the O&G industries' wrath regarding Bill Ritter, who was the only Colorado governor to EVER stand up to the legions of oily boys. Where are the vicious attacks against Frackenlooper?  I haven't seen one.

  5. ArapaGOP says:

    According to your own PPP liberal Democrat poll, 94% of far lefties support Hickenlooper. Where is the backlash? Only in Colorado Pols' mind.

    • Duke Cox says:


      “Most of the oil and gas companies are pretty unhappy with me as well,”


      Can someone show me where this sentiment has been expressed?


  6. Gray in Mountains says:

    I've said before that Hick is a closet Rockefeller Republican. The Dems will support him for Gov because they won't have a viable alternative. Carroll won't run against him.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.