A new ad today from the congressional campaign of Democrat Gail Schwartz, running for incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton’s CD-3 seat covering the Western Slope and parts of southeast Colorado including Pueblo, hits Tipton for his support for “selling off public lands.” The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports that Tipton’s campaign is most displeased:
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., is taking issue with his Democratic rival’s newest television ad.
In it, former state Sen. Gail Schwartz says Tipton wants to sell off public lands and make them available to private individuals and corporations.
That’s not even close to being true, Tipton said.
“I’ve been a longtime advocate of keeping our federal public lands and ensuring that the American people have continued access to them,” Tipton said. [Pols emphasis]
“Never once have I advocated to sell them off.”
In the ad, called “Public Lands,” Schwartz said Tipton “wants to cut off access to public lands for generations to come, killing thousands of jobs,” adding that the land should remain open for ranching, hunting and fishing.
We’re a little confused about this report on Schwartz’s new ad–according to Ashby, Schwartz offered as justification for the claim legislation that doesn’t quite go the distance in terms of demonstrating Tipton’s willingness to sell off public lands. Because Ashby’s story doesn’t quote a bill number, it’s not so easy to figure out what he’s referring to.
But it really doesn’t matter–because in about five minutes of Googling, we found a recent vote from Tipton that proves Schwartz is right. On July 14th of this year, fellow Colorado Rep. Jared Polis offered this amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017:
Mr. POLIS. Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment, along with my colleague, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva), the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee.
The amendment is very simple. It offers a choice for those in Congress to make. It is a choice for Members to vote on whether we want to keep our public lands public or not. [Pols emphasis]
Very simply, my amendment says that none of the funds available through this bill can be used in violation of the law with regard to keeping our public lands public. This amendment would not undo anything or undermine any current congressional or administrative land exchanges that are done legally.
The amendment would, however, prohibit the use of funds in this bill to pursue any extra-legal ways to turn Federal land over to private owners through various things like a commission, or others that have been espoused…
I would point out that there are Members in this body–in fact, the chair of the authorizing committee in this general area–who speak regularly about privatizing our public lands, so there is a real threat. This is not simply something that comes out of nowhere. I think the peace of mind that we would get by including this kind of language in an appropriations bill would make it very clear that Congress supports the opinion of the American people, supports the economy in districts like mine, and wants to keep our public lands public.
Despite Rep. Polis’ advocacy on the floor of the U.S. House in favor of this amendment, it was defeated by the GOP majority on a 239-188 vote. One of the “no” votes against Polis’ amendment was the very same Rep. Scott Tipton who now says with great offense that he “has always supporting keeping our federal lands.”
We doubt this is the only such vote from Rep. Tipton that could be reasonably considered “against public lands,” but it’s a very clear example, as well as quite recent. The fact is that, whatever Tipton’s personal views may be, selling off public lands for private exploitation is a very popular cause among many of Tipton’s fellow Western Republicans. If Tipton has ever chosen to stand up to his “Sagebrush Rebellion” colleagues, it’s nothing we’ve seen break the surface in public.
And just over a month before the election, it’s too late now.
One could ask why Mr. Tipton worked so hard on the Hermosa bill if he was against public lands. Yes, he got snookered by Rob Bishop in House Resources. But Tipton held on and got Bishop’s bad language removed on the House floor. And the state now has a wilderness area and recreation management area thanks in part to Rep. Tipton.
Nobody cares what some debutante from Aspen thinks in Pueblo.
Gail's leadership in the Senate has been invaluable to the interests of Pueblo. She was a leading voice on increasing the state renewable standard to 30% during her tenure, bringing thousands of new jobs to the Front Range, not the least of which the Vestas facility in Pueblo. The recently announced $1 billion Rush Creek Wind Project will use Vestas equipment, as did the Cedar Point wind farm north of Limon. Perhaps you missed the rather large order for Vestas turbines by Midwest Energy? Or these orders?
She was also the champion and generally chief author of the industrial hemp legislation. Pueblo County is a bright spot in that industry. Colorado grew more industrial hemp in 2016 than the other 30 legalized states combined. The world is coming to Colorado – and Pueblo County – because of the legislation Gail shepherded through the Senate as Ag Committee Chairwoman.
She's the kind of Colorado 'roll up your sleeves' debutante (your word) we can all benefit from.
Too much time rubbing elbows with Prince Bandar in Aspen I think.
Kind of like Gordon Klingenschmitt – wonder if he sold off his Aspen time share yet?
Or Marilyn Marks, the Aspen millionaire who got her start as an "election watchdog" pursuing "rampant voter fraud" in Colorado,.
Aspen folks come in all political flavors.
Gail is very smart and has always had a superlative understanding of those she represents. Hard to call "debutante" an insult, but it really does minimize her ability and willingness to do the hard work. So, fuck you
Yeah, that was a misfire of an insult.
Gail Schwartz helped destroy the coal economy in Delta County. She will never represent the western slope.
Coal destroyed the coal industry.
And those pesky free market economics.
This may come as no surprise, but you have no clue what you are babbling about.
Yep..Unless Gail single handedly lowered the price of natural gas and kept it there, she had absolutely nothing to do with it. Tipton (and Fluffy) continue to try to tie Sen. Schwartzs' support of "Clean Skies, Clean Jobs". to the decline of the coal industry. That is a bald-faced lie for which he should be held accountable …Tipton, I mean..not Fluffy.