Republicans Cry “Terrorism” As Local Control Negotiations Falter

SATURDAY UPDATE: Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call sounds the retreat, Boulder Daily Camera:

"Of course it's ridiculous that over differences of opinion on an important issue, people are calling each other names," Polis said. "There's plenty of arguments on all sides. We want to have a strong energy sector in Colorado, but we also want to protect homeowners, and we need to find a balance between the two."

Call, in a statement Friday afternoon, apologized for the tweet.

"It's a fact that Congressman Jared Polis' proposed regulations will put thousands of Colorado jobs and our state's economic future at risk," he said. "While I passionately believe that we must protect these jobs and energy development in our state, I understand that my comment has distracted from this important conversation.

"I apologize for that, and I sincerely apologize to Congressman Polis."


UPDATE #2: The Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports, prospects for a compromise dimming as GOP rhetoric against Rep. Jared Polis waxes incendiary:

"My constituents want to see this addressed. We're fully prepared to go to the ballot box on this," Polis said Friday. "It looks increasingly unlikely the legislature will succeed in addressing this issue."

Some House Republicans assailed Polis Friday for "economic blackmail."

"I am amazed that Democrats in the legislature are following along like a flock of sheep," said Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling. "We hope Colorado is paying attention — Polis' jihad [Pols emphasis] against responsible energy development is reckless, and the Democrats under the Gold Dome are committed accomplices."

Got that? Polis is a "terrorist" (below), waging a "jihad" against energy. No mistaking what they're getting at. In addition to being over-the-top offensive, as we understand it, a "jihad" is struggle against those who do not believe.

Kind of like the oil industry drilling in your neighborhood, right? It seems they've got it backwards.


UPDATE: Getting ugly out there, Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call just Tweeted and then deleted:


So, um…no. Not really very helpful, chairman.

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis


​As the Denver Business Journal's Ed Sealover reports, a deal may be near on legislation to give more control to local governments to regulate oil and gas drilling in their boundaries–legislation that needs to be tough in order to placate supporters of a number of land-use local control ballot initiatives, including measures supported by Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder, working their way through the system:

Backers say they believe something is likely to come on Friday.

Rep. Su Ryden, the Aurora Democrat who will serve as the sponsor, said in an interview Thursday that she is hoping to write the measure as broadly as possible to not tie the hands of either governments or drillers, and to allow the parties to negotiate compromises that work for everyone.

While the bill will deal with allowing local governments to regulate noise and distances between wells and homes, it likely won’t be prescriptive on how little or how much they can mandate in most instances, she said.

“It’s sort of silent on a lot of things. It doesn’t really get specific on what those particulars might be, because it allows them to be flexible and negotiate,” Ryden said.

The stakes are high in these negotiations. In addition to conservationists who need to be happy with this compromise in order to consider abandoning their ballot initiatives, the oil and gas industry needs to either be willing to make real concessions or risk killing the whole thing. Overarching both of these factors is the practical for Democrats to avoid divisive infighting in an already difficult political climate, though we've heard pretty convincing arguments that the Democratic base would indeed rally around a local control ballot measure, without collateral damage to energy-friendly Democrats who stay neutral or oppose–the ties binding Democrats, according to this line of thinking, being stronger than any single issue.

That's the status as of now, and a deal will appear today, Monday, or not at all. Stay tuned.

33 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    Yes, quite the shakedown. Holding an entire industry and thousands of jobs hostage unless they agree to either get screwed a little less now, or far more later.

    Democrats have nothing to be proud of. This is extortionate behavior.

    • Progressicat says:

      The Oil and Gas folks and their supporters created this problem for themselves by creating regs that failed to meet the expectations of suburban living that folks have today.  You can't drop a rig a football field away from a subdivision (or for damned sure a school), because the people who live in these places are looking for an experience that avoids all the problems of urban living with its smells, its sounds, and its 24 hour pace.

      The split estate isn't something most folks understand, and people have never wanted traffic in their neighborhoods– let alone the kind of truck volume that brings supplies in and product out.  It's why we don't zone the auto body shop in the cul-de-sac with the Mcmansions.

      O&G got greedy and believed they could exploit their rights (which I don't contest) with the State behind them and the neighborhood be damned.  This isn't extortion, it's the price of hubris.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Shakedown? By whom? While you tout your potential loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs (a lie), an industry that contributes just over 2% of our state GDP and 1% of our jobs enjoys a severance tax rate that is a pittance compared to our surrounding states.  While they mine our state treasure, our finite natural gas supply, at an alarming low tax rate, we were simultaneously asked to institute a billion dollar tax on Coloradans to fund education through the failed Amendment 66 initiative.  Between the years of 2002-2006, we gave away $1.3 billion.  Governor Ritter attempted to remedy the situation in 2008 through Amendment 58 – but was crushed by the torrent of ads paid for my the industry. 

      Given our current budget constraints, we are quickly closing in on the day when we won't be able to support any of our state universities – this happening while we will have allowed billions to leave the state because of our present tax rate.  Is that the kind of future we want? 

      We sit her today, another six years later after the failed Amendment 58 with nothing but crickets from our elected leaders. (I understand Governor Hickenlooper has announced he is going to convene a roundtable to study the tax rate).  The ozone levels in Colorado – directly attributable to the industry – have been estimated to be causing a 10% reduction in our corn and wheat yields.  The indirect health costs of the Front Range ozone levels is a cost borne not-by-industry.  The National Appraisers Association has estimated that in areas of high fracking activity property values decrease by an average of 15%.

      So yes, there is a shakedown happening.  It's just not the party you think it is.  As Progressicat said, this response is borne from their hubris.  They treat the state like a colony, not a partner.  With the available technology today this response should not have been necessary.  And if this legislative fix fails, I have little doubt these initiatives will pass.  And the economy will not crash as a result. 

      I'm not a wild-eyed anti-natural gas guy – but unless the industry wants to start acting "Responsible" – and by that, I mean looking at it through the totality of the pluses and minuses of their operations, and adopting a platinum-standard of best management practices (which includes a higher severance tax rate), then they should be reigned in.  The good news:  the gas isn't going anywhere.  It will still be right there once a grand bargain is reached.


      • DawnPatrol says:

        Michael, in all the time I've been reading, enjoying, and learning immensely from your superb posts, I've never ONCE seen any of our sad, dimwitted Koch trolls attempt to dispute or contradict a single one of your corroborating facts or statistics. Ever.

        Hmm…what shall we infer from this, Polsters?

        • BlueCat says:

          That they've got nothing. The best they can do is equate going to the ballot box with terrorism. That is if it isn't for the purpose of controlling people's romantic or reproductive lives.  They also have trouble with the whole preferring local control to big government thing when the locals don't toe the Big Oil line.

        • Advocate says:

          keep up the good work. 

        • langelomisterioso says:

          I'm not totally sure about inferences but one of the things l've learned watching republicans and other conservatives over the years is that they can be counted on to take the shortest-sighted view of any position. For them there is just absolutely nothing(health or environmental considerations) beyond immediate profit.

        • ElliotFladen says:

          I have argued with MB in the past over his love for ethanol

          • MichaelBowman says:

            To be more precise, Elliot, you had a problem with my position but outsourced your concern to the bicycle repairman who failed to make a cogent argument on your behalf. That said, I don't consider you a troll – so the previous comment didn't apply to you. wink

            • ElliotFladen says:

              Probably about right.  I recall being busy and not having time to get into policy weeds beyond pointing out 30,000 foot view

              • Miss Jane says:

                Busy?  That is not an excuse or a reason here.  Many people who post here are very busy people, as well.  I don't happen to be one of them, but I'm just saying that claiming you are busy does not get you an extension or a pass.   Just say you could have been more complete or thorough, and let it go. 


                • Curmudgeon says:

                  You have no idea how busy Elliot is! Far too busy to back up his assertions.  Why, there's Facebook to post on, Twitter to post on, checking Facebook to see if anyone important liked what he posted, back to Twitter to re-tweet something someone important has tweeted, stop by ColoradoPols to tell everyone he's too busy to reply, then back to Facebook to check on his posts, etc, etc, etc…..

                  You gotta know someone is getting royally fleeced in the "Billable Hours" column….

              • MichaelBowman says:

                Here's where we left off, Elliot.  Anytime you'd like to leave the airspace at 30,000 ft and meet me on the tarmac I'd be more than happy to get in to the policy weeds on renewable fuels policy with you.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          That they are cowarqdly shits who can't recognize realty even when it bites them in the ass?

    • DawnPatrol says:

      Lying claptrap from a small and addled mind.

    • Advocate says:

      More Yada Yada Yada from the right who sell out to the industry for some economic gain, and then whine and moan when the bust happens…and it always does…about how we are now saddled with the cleanup costs and the toxic residue from oil and gas operation. Tell Rifle, Colorado oil and gas is a "good deal" that we all need to kowtow to. There is now a legal precedent in Texas that proves fracking operations cause severe illness in people. It is only a matter of time now that more cases will appear. Does Colorado really want to have to endure the damage we know is coming when we can stop it? 

    • <cough> So glad you put it so extremely and in a one-sided manner.   D'ja forget or simply not care that a spate of birth defects and fetal anomalies are being detected around fracking areas (in Roaring Fork Valley plus statewide)? 
      THIS is supposed to get delayed action from Denver, after a health sutdy was just scuttled by the elected's in Denver?  Really??
      But the fact is, knowable to those willing to read, if towns and cities want the fracking they can HAVE it – in all of the local-control ballot initiatives.  So even if the ballot items  pass you can still have your fracking jobs IN YOUR TOWN, NOT MINE –  Clear?  That's freedom, nothing else.

      • wade norris says:

        Thanks Anne – to the point and precise.

        I'd say after writing and advocating on this issue for years, this is what appears to be the game changer in the debate. Quickly I hope, you will see the Democratic leadership aligning with Polis' sentiment on this and the majority of the people in the towns that passed the bans.

  2. MapMaker says:

    I'm curious about the seeming push by the O&G industry to frack as much gas from Colorado as quickly as possible. They're throwing away (flaring) the same gas in North Dakota. Does it make any sense to increase production when prices are low?  Doesn't make sense to hold on to reserves until the price goes up? I guess I just don't understand the economics of boom and bust mining.

    That's a lot of gas being thrown away.


    • DawnPatrol says:

      Perhaps it's dawning on them that their days of running roughshod over Colorado citizens are rapidly coming to an end, and they want to extract everything they can while they still can.  Of course no one (who "matters") in the nearby northern Red states (WY, ID, ND, SD, MT) would dare utter a peep, or do anything but roll over submissively, so they have all the time in the world there to do their long-term damage.

      As to why they're flaring off all that NG in the Red states, I haven't a clue. But something about all of it reeks to the high heavens.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Good catch, MapMaker.  I wrote a diary on this very issue last October after reading an op-ed in the Denver Post written by John Harpole (and recalling the Governors comments about his mother's frugality shaping his personality).  What's going on in North Dakota is near-mindless. (I have relatives that live in the area).  The waste alone of the flare gas would have made up the cuts in the federa SNAP program.  North Dakota shouldn't be a blueprint for any state's economy, regardless of the talking heads on Fox.  Sadly, it didn't have to be that way.  They could have produced the lowest employment rate in the nation and created more millionaires per capita than any other state – all without this disgusting waste and pollution. 

  3. MichaelBowman says:

    Ah, my fellow Republicans just love 'em a 'war'.  Even when it only exists in their mind.  It's hard to miss the irony that the current spokesman, Representative Sonnenberg, lives in a county that benefits each and every day from 'new energy': the Peetz Table Wind Farm.  Yes, that billion-dollar-plus wind project that exists because these 'terrorists 'went to the ballot in 2004 and created a statewide renewable energy standard.  An initiative that Sonnenberg opposed. 

    You really couldn't make this stuff up.


  4. Advocate says:

    I am hoping the Dems enjoy an infusion of spine in these last days of the session. So long as any bill that addresses the ability of local muncipalities to protect human health and the environment contains a provision that subjects its jurisdiction to "existing state statutes", it is a sham.And the Democrats..and the voters in Longmont, Lafayette, Boulder, Greeley, Fort Collins, Grand Junction..the list goes one..should take this opportuntity to let the people speak in the fall initiatives. Let us determine our own futures without the vultures of the oll and gas industry suck our state dry and then leave us the mess to clean up. 

  5. notaskinnycook says:

    If Democratic politicians spin this whole issue right, they might just have found the magic crowbar to separate suburbanites from the Rupublican Party. "Those people do not have your best interests at heart. It's all about the money for them and your kids health and safety be damned."

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      How can they do that and run Hick as Gov?

      What you see is the Dem left going further left leaving the center behind.

      • Curmudgeon says:

        How? Easy. Because a reasonable Governor who's beholden to Oil & Gas is better than one who's beholden to racists, bigots, misogynists, chickenhawks, theocratic fascists, and Oil & Gas.  

        • Andrew Carnegie says:

          I think the perception will be the anti-fracker types (Polis, Udall), to borrow the expression, are too extreme for Colorado (Hick).

          Seems to me there is some fracking going on on the Colorado Dem team, which from my perspective is a good thing. Maybe the Green party will get some traction.

          • langelomisterioso says:

            You can always trust a winger to take the shortest-sighted view possible. And to come up with some anti thing.This is projection at its finest.since they tend to be anti- almost everything they'll accuse their opponents of doing what they know they're doing.I'd ask is it "anti-fracking"or is it pro-local choice.Human health and welfare before profits? I certainly know which side the wingers are going to come down on.

            • ct says:

              Why anyone expects the tiresome troll to provide useful commentary is beyond me.  If counties upset at Denvr Dems can yell 'seccession' and troll says its a show if dissatisfaction, how come troll won't acknowledge local contro is about, local control?  Because it has no original thought and is merely a vomitor of R tlking points.  The proper attitude–despite Dave's notion we should engage rationally with smething which has as its general tactics crapping all over diaries and posting stupid winger cartoons–is to either call shit, shit and a turd a turd; or ignore it.  Pretending it can or ever will offer anything of value, anything original that you cannot find yourself by surfing over to Wingnut Daily or Breibart is contrary to ll evisdence yet presented. IMO. 

  6. MichaelBowman says:

    I wrote a dairy, "Dear Chairman Call" last night, as a member of a decades-long eastern Plains Republican who was offended by his terrorists remark.  I appreciate the fact that he walked back his comments – but his remarks continue to expose the irony over this issue and the near-total detachment from everyday Coloradans. He's afraid these initiates put jobs "at risk". This is complete bs.  And yes, Chairman Call, we are an energy state amongst a lot of other things. And for your information, the energy from wind on the eastern plains and the solar energy that falls on this state every day are resources worth fighting for as well.  The irony in all of this? The talking points in favor of regulations should be conservative talking points

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