With activist groups planning a protest to demand that Hillary Clinton “oppose fracking and decline oil and gas money in her campaign” at a fundraiser hosted by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper in Denver tomorrow, Hickenlooper’s predecessor, former Governor Bill Ritter Jr., has said that natural gas is an important element of a clean energy future. As Sputnik News reports:
“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)
Ritter’s comments come as national activist groups have “increased pressure” on both Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns. The issue has particular prominence in Colorado where presidential contenders may appear on the same ballot with a slate of initiatives backed by activist groups targeting oil and gas development this election cycle.
But comments from former Gov. Bill Ritter show how out of touch these groups are. Ritter has been called the nation’s “Greenest Governor” and has even been credited with coining the phrase, “new energy economy.” He currently serves as director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University where he works to “facilitate America’s transition to a clean-energy economy.” Sputnik News goes on to report that Ritter said:
“I believe that with a good set of regulations, with good enforcement, with good compliance on the part of the industry, it [fracking for natural gas] can be a part of a clean energy future,” Ritter said. (emphasis added)
Ritter joins many other prominent Colorado Democrats including former Senator Mark Udall, former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Governor John Hickenlooper in supporting oil and gas development. In reaffirming his support for fracking, Ritter’s comments come as the latest blow to the credibility of activist groups campaigning to ban oil and gas development in Colorado. In a sign of just how destructive the initiatives are, Hickenlooper said just last week that that an effort to increase oil and gas setback distances to 2500 feet, would cost the state “billions of dollars.” As reported by CBS Denver:
“That would be considered a taking, and I think the state would probably be judged responsible, and I think the cost could be in the many billions of dollars. I think that’s a risk that most Coloradans — if it was laid out for them in a sense they could clearly understand — would not support it.”
Activist groups have been working overtime in Colorado to spread misinformation in support of their view that energy development in the state should be banned. But prominent leaders like Bill Ritter, Governor Hickenlooper, business leaders, editorial boards and elected officials are speaking out against their efforts.