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July 13, 2008 06:35 PM UTC

Schaffer v. Facts (a Look at today's Sentinel guest column)

  • by: Oliver

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Today the Grand Junction Sentinel has an oil shale face off between Colorado Senate candidates Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer.  

I will get around to Rep. Udall’s column, but since it is more factually based, I thought I would begin with Mr. Schaffer’s column, which is rife with inaccuracies.

Schaffer has been in the news repeatedly, primarily in ways his campaign would probably not prefer.  Between junkets to sweatshops, Colorado roots ads with Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, financial shenanigans, and his efforts to benefit his Big Oil clients at the expense of Iraqi stability, media reports have put the lie to the notion that all publicity is good publicity.

Follow me for a look at his most recent attempt to spin his campaign to a better place, at the expense of truth.

Borrowing from the GOP talking points, Schaffer places blame for America’s energy woes not with the crashing dollar, not with our insatiable demand and the failure of the GOP congress (and Bob Schaffer) to update fuel efficiency standards, not with reckless speculation, not with putting oil men in charge of energy policy, and not with his own efforts to profit off high prices.

Sadly, some of the worst culprits are from Colorado. I’m running against one of them – Boulder County Democrat Mark Udall

After dodging blame and attempting to lay it primarily on the Democrats, Schaffer begins by fudging the facts and misrepresenting reality.

Colorado’s oil and gas industry contributes over $20 billion to the state economy and employs 71,000 people – many on the Western Slope. We need to replace the politicians who insist on punishing these Coloradans.

However each of these statements are false.  The State of Colorado counts about 27,000 oil and gas workers, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.  According to a story that ran in the Pueblo Chieftain :

But state labor statistics for April list 27,700 jobs in natural resources and mining, which include the oil and gas industry.

…”I think our economists would take some exception to how far that net is cast,” said Bill Thoennes, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

Second a large number of these workers are not Coloradans.  They are transient workers, with few ties to the communities, who follow the boom and precipitate the bust.  A Denver Post story reports:

The energy boom in northwestern Colorado has brought with it thousands of workers. It has created a severe lack of housing, but developers are wary of building permanent apartments for a temporary workforce. Once the wells are constructed, there is practically no work except for sporadic checks on production.

Transient workers bring numerous problems, in addition to the temporary housing, man camps, and illegal RV parks that spring up like knapweed on a well pad, the Post story continues:

K-Cose said she occasionally has problems with drunken energy employees breaking furniture, but she said they have not been significant.

“These are good people, generally. They just work hard and drink hard,” Borchard said.

A Rocky Mountain News article reports:

The incursion of industry and its many transient workers also has its downsides in torn-up roads, congested neighborhoods, strained emergency services, stressed water and sewage plants, and spiking crime rates.

An article in the San Diego Union Tribune reports on the growing crime problem around the Garfield County gas fields.

The number of arrests in Parachute has skyrocketed. Criminal arrests in 2004 totaled 916. By mid-December, 2005 arrests totaled 1,629. During September and October 2004, Parachute police made 101 arrests; during the same period in 2005, police made 353 arrests.

…”We just have a lot of people from out of state,” Parachute Police Sgt. Cary Parmenter said. “They come out here and work the rigs for a few months and then they leave. They don’t care about our community. It kind of puts an impact on us.”

Getting back to Schaffer’s guest column, he suggests that we should subsidize oil shale development:

We should hold out incentives for unconventional technologies such as oil-shale, oil sands and others.

This is precisely the wrong approach, and much of the analysis of the devastation that cratered Colorado’s economy in the early 1980s (Black Sunday) pins the blame on exactly this type of ‘solution,’ the artificial stimulation of the infusion (and withdrawal) of federal subsidies.

Bob Schaffer offers old and wrong ideas to get us out of America’s energy mess, which only new, clean energy sources and lowering demand can truly solve.  

In my next installment, I will look at Rep. Udall’s column and deconstruct the myth that oil shale provides any solution that would benefit Colorado, be environmentally benign, or do much to help America’s energy woes.  


70 thoughts on “Schaffer v. Facts (a Look at today’s Sentinel guest column)

    1. at Oil & Gas is Bob’s sixth largest contributer by industry, dumping over $104k into his campaign so far.

      Big Oil Bob has raised $ 3.2 million so far and Udall is over $ 5 million.  Oil and gas industry does not show up on Udall’s top 20 industry contributing to his race.  Contributions identified as ‘Environment’ show up as eight on Udall’s report, at $ 118k.

      Overall, Energy/Natural Resource sector has given over $ 176k to Schaffer, and $ 80k to Udall.

      1. Mark Udall supports employee free choice.

        YES on Amendment 47 for employee free choice.

        Shouldn’t all Coloradnas have the right to join or not join the union?

          1. Since he has no ability to create his own work, such as a diary, and if he did no one would bother to read it, since he just posts the came old shit over and over and over and over ad nuaseum, he must hijack other diaries that have nothing to do with his tired rhetoric.  

            Thus his ethics are also questionable, although his skills are not.  They are clearly sub-par.  Apparently the only people that will hire him are the same ones who hire rapists and felons to gather their petition signatures.  

        1. I know the Dead Guvs don’t heavily police, but hijacking other diaries can lead to banning.

          If you want to blog about Boulder Liberal Mark Udall’s anti-American Communist support of unions, please take it to an appropriate thread.

    2. Nancy Pelosi won’t let Congress vote on energy bills because she fears GOP amendments that would force Dems to vote against oil drilling off shore and in Alaska.

      She and Udall’s wife, the head of the Colorado chapter of the Sierra Club, want higher prices, which they believe will depress consumption of fossil fuels.

      More important to Pelosi, high fuel prices will drive air fares so high that the riff raff will be forced off dirty jets.

      So the runways will be cleared for the private jets Pelosi, her family, Al Gore and their lefty friends so enjoy. High oil prices don’t affect their life styles, and, apparently, will help them win more power.

      So the left is all for higher oil prices, the working stiff’s suffering is only to the benefit of the Democratic Party.

      Such cynicism by the left will eventually be exposed and exploited by the Republicans.

      1. but keeping saying it if you want.  Post a link to prove it if you have it, otherwise I will think you are repeating outdated lies.

        Are you talking about the .01 to .04 cents that Alaskan oil might maybe perhaps lower the price for a gallon at the pump in 8 years?  That’s what W’s DOE estimates the effort of opening the Arctic to drilling would bring, maybe.  Or are you talking about oil shale?  Oil shale–should it ever be proven commercially feasible, and the most advanced experiments (by Shell) are still 5 years or more away before any such decision is made–and commercial production is–if it is even viable–is another decade out form that.  Again, show me your links and I’ll show you mine.

        I am really sick of Republican talking points with no fact behind them.  

        Lay out specifically which supplies you are talking about, when they would come online, how much they would reduce prices at the pump, and how.  Otherwise you spout mere sh*t.  

          1. Here’s what “Usually Reliable” had to say in “The Colorado Model” ~

            “For the fall ballot, Ritter is pushing a referendum to impose a $300 million increase in the severance tax on the mining industry, further alienating the business community.”

            Um, sorry Fred, the initiative concerns the repeal of a subsidy – a handout – (not exactly a tax hike but we won’t quibble) to the oil and gas industry. The initiative doesn’t have anything to do with uranium, molybdenum, gold, silver, gravel or any other kind of mining.

            Then there’s the compound error as “Usually Reliable” tries to smear Rep. Udall by targeting his wife:

            “The question is whether he can effectively respond to Schaffer’s call for exploiting Colorado’s vast oil shale reserves. Schaffer’s position is increasingly popular, and he intends to dwell on it relentlessly. To propose drilling, Udall might have to defy his wife, Maggie Fox, the state director of the Sierra Club, the ardent environmental group.”  

            Strike two, Fred, one doesn’t simply “drill” for oil shale. Matter of fact, after $10 billion in research, industry still can’t figure out how to squeeze oil from shale, which has the energy value of a tater tot.

            Then there’s the inconvenient fact that Maggie Fox is not the chair of the Sierra Club.

            That’s three factual errors in seven paragraphs. Usually reliable indeed.

            But here’s the real beauty:

            “One reason for their reticence is that it depends partly on wealthy liberals’ spending tons of money not only on “independent expenditures” to attack Republican office-seekers but also to create a vast infrastructure of liberal organizations that produces an anti-Republican, anti-conservative echo chamber in politics and the media.

            Colorado is where this model is being tested and refined.’

            Um, no Fred. Wealthy individuals spending tons of money to attack office seekers and create a network of organizations that produces a conservative echo chamber in politics and the media – the model was perfected by your friends in the Grand Oil Party over the past 15 years.

            Must have been fun while it lasted.


            1. Believe it or not, there is more than one person named Maggie in Colorado, as hard as that is to believe.  Mark Udall’s wife is Maggie Fox.  Sssh, people, with the inter-tubes it’s not too hard to fact check…

          1. David–Maggie Pedersen lives in Glenwood.  Same first name doesn’t cut it.  Sorry no points for you.  I admit I’m a bit disappointed in your sloppiness on this one.

            Maggie Fox use to be the director of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Sierra Club–about 8 years ago.

            Skeptic–you are the one not providing one damn fact to suggest that the Republicans have anything other than snake oil in their ‘plan’ to lower energy prices.  Thus your ‘question’ is a straw man.  Maybe the GOP wishes upon a star to lower gas prices (although their funders in Big Oil sure do not want that nor do they want American energy independence).  

            Here is that ‘reliable source’ Fred Barnes (this month even) on climate change–which even McSame now believes in:

            Barnes, who has never gotten his mind around the concept of climate change, noted that more and more the science behind global warming is “crumbling”. He made a mumble grumble attempt to back up his claim with facts citing NASA warmest year stats.

            Although hard to believe, Barnes and Kondracke are still debating the notion that global warming exists. Kondracke countered with data coming from polar ice core samples indicating that there is more CO2 in the atmosphere but then wondered if that really caused warming. Then he called for national debates on the subject.

            Here is Barnes, in 2004, about the bang up job L. Paul Bremer is doing in Iraq:

            Paul Bremer and the military and all the people who work for them have done a wonderful job…

            There are lots of choice Fred Barnes quotes, I could go on a while.  

            Did you provide a citation for any of your claims?  No, not one.  That’s because you are full of crap, so much it oozes out your ears I would bet.  So, let me repeat challenge to you:

            Lay out specifically which supplies you are talking about, when they would come online, how much they would reduce prices at the pump, and how.

            Failing to do that, you like most of the desperate Republicans out there, starting at the top of the ticket this season and trickling down through Big Oil Bob to Wayne “Who?” Wolf, have only bullshit.  You have no real solutions, you have no real plan, you are bankrupt, substantively and morally, and demonstrable idiotic as well.  Without facts, you can only slander, blame, and obfuscate.  

            You pretend to be knowledgeable, so answer my challenge.  

  1. …one could also use your information to counter the Colorado Oil & Gas Association too.  I’ve been getting lots of mail pieces from them.  

  2. by the oil and gas industry, we’re going to have to get the truth out.  There are lots of good links in this diary, and I have a bunch too.  The oil and gas association has no qualms bout telling lies.  But we have the facts on our side.

    Chevron has this great PR campaign about ‘joining the discussion’ on how to solve America’s energy woes.  No where do they mention (of course) that they are dumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaign to keep the status quo in Colorado, which trashes communities and leaves taxpayers to foot the bill.  Their effort is even co-sponsored by the PBS News Hour and they have a banner up on Daily Kos.  If even PBS and Kos won’t help get the truth out, then its up to us Coloradans.

  3. That’ll win elections:

    BARNES: He wasn’t wrong to say that. You know what this was? This was straight talk that McCain always says he’s giving it, and this is exactly what Phil Gramm did. He gave straight talk…They claim about how bad the economy is-and it’s weak, no question about that. …They’re whining all the way through it.

     Today, Faux News Sunday

  4. whoopsie!  From the WSJ, December 2004:

    …Republicans have the presidency, the most senators (55) since 1931, and are near their modern peak in the House (232). They have all but completed the sweeping political realignment they could only dream about a generation ago. In the dark days after the 1964 rout, those dreams seemed quixotic, farfetched, even crazed. Now, they’ve been realized.

    Today, Republicans are in position to pursue a conservative agenda more sweeping than even Reagan’s. Mr. Bush is preparing to propose the partial privatization of Social Security. That’s ground on which Reagan feared to tread. Then Mr. Bush plans to seek simplification of the tax code far beyond what Reagan achieved in 1986. And from there, the agenda turns to curbing trial lawyers, expanding faith-based programs, filling Supreme Court vacancies with conservatives, and more.

    …Republicans now have a bigger tent. Social liberals like Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger were prominent speakers at the GOP convention. Social conservatives were virtually nonexistent at the Democratic convention.

    …The chief theorist of realignment, political scientist Walter Dean Burnham, says they occur when the dominant party is unable to cope with new demands from frustrated voters. That prompts a breakthrough election, the latest in 1994. If the new political arrangement “turns out to be permanent,” it’s a realignment that’s likely to endure for decades. The 2004 election “consolidated” the realignment, Burnham says. There’s reason to believe Republican dominance, absent a catastrophe such as a depression, will last.

      1. I sure AS stands by his ‘source.’  I’m curious why he has neglected to provide any information supporting the notion that Nancy Pelosi and Udall want to raise gas prices.

        Perhaps he just conflates the Big Oil dream of “Drilling when we want, Stockpiling leases now” with lower prices in contrast to all fact to the contrary.  Yesterday I posted a link to Exxon exec moaning about American’s wanting energy independence on the “How Much is Too Much” Diary.  

        The “Blame environmentalists” (including it seems by making up non-existent spousal relationships, as if a previous position with the Sierra Club is worse than a direct, fresh lobbyist/exec role with an oil company, helping to negotiate oil contracts against the direction of the US Government) is old and worn.  

        In 2000-2001, you may recall the rolling blackouts that plagues California.  Then conservative pundits–of the same caliber as Mr. Barnes, that is low, quickly blamed environmentalists.  In a January 2001 Thomas Sowell talked of ‘chickens coming home to roost’:

        CALIFORNIANS are not only seeing rolling blackouts, they are seeing chickens coming home to roost. They are learning the most elementary facts the hard way.

        …You cannot continue indefinitely pandering to the shrill voices of people who call themselves “environmentalists” or “consumer advocates” without reaching the point where the chickens come home to roost.

        Regardless of what environmentalists say, you cannot continue to treat every worm or reptile as sacrosanct, and as a reason why you cannot build hydroelectric dams or nuclear power plants that might inconvenience them — not unless you are prepared to sacrifice the interests of millions of human beings affected by blackouts.

        Robert Tracinski of the Ayn Rand Institute wrote in May 2001:

        For decades, the greens have screamed that we need to “conserve” because we are running out of natural resources. They have told us that we’re running out of oil, gas, coal and everything else–and all of these predictions proved spectacularly wrong. Now, however, the greens have created an artificial energy shortage–and they propose, as the alleged solution, more “conservation.” So people are being encouraged–and will eventually be forced–to shut off their lights, swelter without air-conditioning, stop surfing the net, and do without all of the other amenities made possible by electric power.

        Also from Ayn Rand, David Holcberg wrote in January 2001:

        The blackouts are an early warning sign of the dangers to human life coming from environmentalist activism. Californians are paying dearly for the environmentalists’ determination to slow down the engines of the world and halt human progress.

        However as it turned out, it was not environmentalists, but greedy energy companies that caused the Blackouts of 2000 and 2001, including several major campaign contributors to Republican candidates, such as still-president Bush, including Enron, Williams, Duke Energy and El Paso.  (El Paso and Williams are active in drilling Colorado and in shipping that gas, and profits out of state.  Williams has already contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintaining the status quo in Colorado to ensure that Colorado taxpayers keep subsidizing their growing profits even as we pay more as consumers to heat our homes).  

        I leave you with the Grandma Mille quote from Enron speculators, as they manipulated the market and caused California’s energy woes, reported in a CBS article from Jule 1, 2004:

        When a forest fire shut down a major transmission line into California, cutting power supplies and raising prices, Enron energy traders celebrated, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports.

        “Burn, baby, burn. That’s a beautiful thing,” a trader sang about the massive fire.

        Four years after California’s disastrous experiment with energy deregulation, Enron energy traders can be heard – on audiotapes obtained by CBS News – gloating and praising each other as they helped bring on, and cash-in on, the Western power crisis.

        “He just f—s California,” says one Enron employee. “He steals money from California to the tune of about a million.”

        “Will you rephrase that?” asks a second employee.

        “OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day,” replies the first.

        …”All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?”

        “Yeah, grandma Millie, man”

        “Yeah, now she wants her f——g money back for all the power you’ve charged right up, jammed right up her a—— for f——g $250 a megawatt hour.”

        1. It’s out there.  If you don’t see it and continue to fund Big Energy, you’re stupid.  This is all to say nothing about the fact that they have leases that they aren’t using while they’re out there asking for more leases.  Some people have the numbers and the facts shown to them and they are too stupid to see it.  

  5. …low oil and natural gas prices are crippling the industry…

    …I believe these low prices will prove to be disastrous for the country…

    Oilman Harry L. Graham in Senate Testimony to Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-AK).  The hearing was on the merger of Exxon and Mobil.  Those testifying against the merger (non-oilmen) argued that the merger of these two giants would drive up consumer prices, something the oil and gas companies supported in testimony.  The Republicans favored the merger in spite of this testimony.  

    You’re up to bat now AS, still waiting for a single fact.



    Two foreign policy advisers ripped GOP candidate for U.S. Senator from Colorado Bob Schaffer Friday, saying an oil deal his company negotiated in a region of Iraq jeopardized the safety of American troops, said Lynn Bartels with the Rocky Mountain News.

    Schaffer researched the country and political situation when he visited in 2006 while working as a senior vice president for Denver-based Aspect Energy. The oil deal was reached the following year.

    “I think there is a serious question about who Bob Schaffer is,” said Rand Beers, former senior member of National Security Council staff who worked for every president since Ronald Reagan.

  7. http://grades.betterimmigratio

    Yeah, right.  Let’s add aonther 100 million people to the country, refuse to expand refining capacity, and then see what happens to fuel prices.

    And I’ll be installing solar panels on my work truck tomorrow.

    Idiots rule.  Or, if they are not ruling, they’re bashing conservatives on ColoradoPols.

      1. That Democrats support massive population growth?

        That humans have an overall negative impact on the environment?

        That we haven’t increased refining capacity in thirty years?

        That I need fuel to haul tools, parts, and supplies?  Democrats used to stand with working men.  No more.  Unless the working man is gay or non-white.

        Tell me PR, are you one of those who call yourself an environmentalist, like Salazar and Udall, on the one hand, and advocate massive population growth on the other (like Salazar and Udall)?

          1. or undocumented, who cares?  More people = more autos and urban sprawl.

            Also, they’re not just advocating population growth, but massive population growth.

            Immigration reform?  What the F does that even mean?  From a Democrat/Rockefeller Republican POV, it sure as heck doesn’t mean stabilizing the growth of the US population.

            1. Immigration has been a relatively open door in this country since its founding.  Immigration reform means solving the problems in our immigration policy to accurately track immigration, to be able to adjust our policies based on actual needs, and to legalize ALL immigrants in some way so that our justice system can properly serve both citizens and immigrants when immigrants are involved.

              BTW, we can kick out the immigrants, but I hope you don’t need the food that they pick.

              1. That’s the kind of jibberish that has gotten us into the mess we’re in.

                Thanks for proving my point, hypocrite.  Or is it coward?

                1. I didn’t realize I was writing above your comprehension level.  I’ll make it more simple:

                  * Immigrants have been welcome here throughout our country’s history.

                  * Proper identification equals better control of immigrants and immigration.

                  * No documentation means poor understanding of immigration needs.

                  * Legalizing immigrants means granting visas or citizenship and getting them documented.

                  * Undocumented immigrants are afraid to seek or provide help to law enforcement.  Effective law enforcement relies on co-operation by residents (legal or not).

                  * Produce is harvested by migrant workers, many of whom are undocumented.  No workers equals no produce.

                  I missed where I proved your point.  Apparently invisible undocumented immigrants don’t count in our population figures.

      2. you don’t understand econ 101.  As you are a leftist, this is probably the case.  I’ll type slowly so all of you lefties can understand…

        When the demand for a commodity increases, and there is no corresponding increase in supply, the price of said commodity increases because of scarcity.


        1. If the companies running refineries don’t want to spend money to build a responsible facility, they get the added benefit of larger profits.  It’s more profitable to expand the facilities they have (hence, enlarging capacity – something you seem to deny having happened), and it gives people ignorant of the facts something to rant about – again, to the benefit of the immensely profitable oil & gas industry.

          Perhaps Economics 101 has some follow-on classes that you’ve missed.

          1. These statistics are dated, but…

            Refining capacity has not significantly changed, but has decreased slightly since the early ’80s.  However, the US EIA does not list environmental concerns as the primary cause: the ’80s saw a glut in refinery capacity, and the least profitable refineries were closed by the companies themselves.  Capacity utilization has hovered around 90% for all but that period of time when the industry was “recovering” from the glut.

            However, my other points do stand: refinery companies have increased the efficiency and capacity of their more profitable refineries and have continued to close their less profitable refineries; this has kept supply reasonably stable over this time period.

            (There – not only can I admit I was wrong, but I also took the time to do actual economic research…)

          2. And leftists like you decide what is “responsible”?

            Just like leftists like you have decided that massive population growth is good for the environment.

            Tell me PR, are you one of those who call yourself an environmentalist, like Salazar and Udall, on the one hand, and advocate massive population growth on the other (like Salazar and Udall)?

            Responsible environmentalist?

        2. Those aren’t facts, they are claims.  

          Here’s a text for you, on

          The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Clear Thinking (The Complete Idiot’s Guide) (Paperback)

          by Joe LoCicero (Author), Richard J. LoCicero (Author), Kenneth A. LoCicero (Author)

              1. Don’t worry Twit, you’ll get your wish.  We’ll all soon be poor (unless you’re the CEO of a multinational, a government bureaucrat, or a public school teacher).

                Those of us who rely on work trucks to put food on our tables will be first.

                That is what you want isn’t it, Twit?  To each according to need,…

                1. but nice try at slander, which seems to be the best you can do, bereft of facts or supporting information, or even an attempt to answer my question.  Here it is again, so you can ignore it again and call me names.

                  and immigration affects GLOBAL energy supply how?


              2. Maybe you just like to ignore the “Act locally” part of the slogan.

                I’ll bet it’s hard for you to say No to people who are non-white.

                Are you white and ashamed of your skin color, Twit?

                1. toward with the white, brown, black, red or yellow people who share our planet.  There is only one race Plumber, the human race, and even the Neanderthals among us are members.  

            1. that you swallow such shit over and over and go back for more.

              You’ve been hopelessly routed by PR in this thread. Go and do some research, then come back and try again.

                1. I’m an objective observer of the debates here, and you lost. You gave lots of insults, lots of baseless statements, no facts or figures. PR gave facts and figures. Sorry, thanks for playing.

                    1. The ones from the ax-grinding dopes? Sorry, they don’t count. Get some objective sources. Then take a nap so you aren’t so cranky.

                    2. The posts are more than idiotic, he seems dangerous.

                      Lots of threats, lots of implied racism.  tread carefully.

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