Colorado Senator Michael Bennet is the latest Democratic elected official to reject local fracking bans.
During a recent debate between Bennet and his Republican challenger, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, 9 News moderators asked for a yes or no answer to the question “Should local governments in Colorado be able to ban fracking with voter approval?”
As video of the debate shows, Bennet answered unequivocally:
And showing that opposition to local fracking bans is in-fact a bipartisan position, Bennet’s Republican challenger Darryl Glenn agreed, answering “no” as well.
Bennet’s opposition to local fracking bans comes just after leaked emails revealed that Hillary Clinton’s campaign called the Bernie Sanders’ ban-fracking agenda “extreme,” “unfeasible” and “irresponsible.” In other words, the Clinton campaign clearly recognized that an anti-fracking platform will not sell with Colorado voters. From the emails:
“What does that mean? A complete 100% fracking ban. There is no elected dem and I believe no enviro group that takes this position. In fact, such an extreme position threatens the progress of common-sense safety measures like frack fluid disclosure and methane capture/air quality regulations.”
“The Denver Post Editorial Board could really smack him for this. This is tricky waters for caucus goers but his language may leave him vulnerable.”
Those points were reiterated in what is apparently a draft statement highlighting the economic and climate benefits of fracking proposed as a response to Sander’s ad:
“Bernie’s call for banning all hydraulic fracturing is, extreme, unfeasible and ignores the contribution natural gas has made to our economy and our efforts to reduce carbon pollution.”
Colorado’s leading Democrats have long-recognized the importance of energy development to the state. Colorado’s Democrat governor, John Hickenlooper has been a stalwart supporter of oil and natural gas development, and a leader against ballot initiatives aimed at driving fracking out of the state.
Colorado’s former Democrat governor Bill Ritter, Jr., who has been called the nation’s “Greenest Governor” and even been credited with coining the phrase “new energy economy,” has said that natural gas is an important element of a clean energy future:
“If you passed a national ban, this industry would go away and it would be harder for us to get to our place of transition on clean energy and climate.” (emphasis added)
More recently, Ritter distanced himself from anti-fossil fuel activists while speaking at the “After Fossil Fuels: The Next Economy” conference at Oberlin College in Ohio. Ritter pushed back on remarks by 350.org co-founder and “Keep-It-In-The-Ground” leader Bill McKibben, from the night before saying,
“So it is really interesting to have been here for the last few days, or couple days and especially to have heard the presentation last night by Bill McKibben and some of the presentations made this morning because I would say that I do come at this from a bit of a different orientation.”
Earlier this year, a broad coalition of prominent Colorado Democrats lined up with the state’s Republicans to mount a fierce opposition campaign against a pair of proposed ballot initiatives that would have effectively banned fracking in the state. Democrats like former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb and former United States Senator and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar partnered with Colorado’s business community to denounce the measures.
And when it comes to local control, an issue that activist groups push as a way to mask their national agenda to ban oil and gas development, even the Denver Post editorial board has indicated that it sees the issue as a fracking ban, as evidenced when it weighed in on a recent legislative proposal saying:
“While officials in most Colorado cities and towns would seek responsible accommodation with the energy industry if they had final say in all siting decisions — indeed, most already do this — a few clearly would not choose such a course.”
The Denver Post goes on:
“They would instead either ban energy extraction outright or impose so many conditions and rules on permits as to make them impossible to obtain.”
From leading Democrats, Michael Bennet and Hillary Clinton, to members of the State House of Representatives coming out against these ban-fracking measures, it is clear they understand Colorado voters are not interested in an anti-energy agenda.