Tag Archive for Fracking

Colorado Senate Decided in 2014 Midterms to Flip to Being Republican Controlled!

Ballots were counted well past Election Day in many states including Colorado. It wasn’t until Friday November 7th when the Colorado Senate was announced to have flipped to being controlled by Republicans after ballots were finished being counted in Adams County. This ended a decades long drought in Colorado GOP leadership. Colorado will now have divided party leadership in the bicameral government, with the Dems controlling the House by 1 seat and the GOP controlling the Senate, with Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper at the helm, and veto power.

Divided government is very healthy for democracy, and it will also help John Hickenlooper have a term guarded by checks and balances. Hickenlooper will likely have a less controversial governance over the people in his second term, because it is less likely for super liberal unpopular legislation. (Like that of the gun laws of his first term.) It is unlikely that any such legislation will pass in the second term with the divided House and Senate leadership.

I see a healthy governance in Hickenlooper’s term and I see an economically healthy Colorado. We already have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and we have a great small company startup success rate in Colorado. And I believe the fact that John Hickenlooper won re-election by about 50,000 votes is the turning point of his entire political career. Since he won re-election he can now easily position himself to run for president in the future, which he has been considered a political up-and-comer for years, with Politico profiling him as a potential Democratic presidential hopeful.

I am upset now in hindsight that Colorado did not go ahead with the fracking ballot measures that could have been on the 2014 ballot. Over the summer, when it was still thought that Udall could potentially win, John Hickenlooper capitulated to the Democrats and worked out the deal with Rep. Jared Polis to remove the ballot measure. The idea was that it would save Mark Udall. Well it didn’t save Mark Udall and now we have not made any progress on the fracking issue statewide when there is a political hunger to make regulations and now there is no major election until 2016. I predict that Rep.  Jared Polis is not done yet. He just won re-election and he is one of the most wealthy Congressmen, in the Top 10 Most Wealthy in Congress, and he is unafraid to make enemies.

Just today there was a high pressure water explosion in these sub-freezing temperatures in Weld County Colorado, and a worker died on a Halliburton fracking site. I predict the fracking issue does not go away anytime soon from the political arena, and the debate becomes louder and more contentious. Fracking is a huge part of Colorado’s economy and I know people who work in this field like any other job-field. I just hope that they are safe and not exposed to dangerous chemicals or otherwise unsafe work conditions. I do not judge people for having a job. I just think that these oil companies and engineering companies put their workers in unsafe conditions at times and perhaps we can make regulations that ensure worker safety without inhabiting the economy. Because even with the low unemployment rate, unemployment is still high and I cannot see the Colorado people outright banning anything that creates jobs. Not in 2014. So can we just make it safer? We may have to get used to earthquakes caused by human purposes in Greeley. I can’t see it going away anytime soon.

John Hickenlooper in Re-Election Fight And if Jared Polis’ Anti-Fracking Measures Make the Ballot, Could Doom Mark Udall

In the spring, Hickenlooper’s campaign was flying high. Spirits were high that Hickenlooper would have a comfortable lead through the summer leading into the fall and the election. But that was before the Republican primary and before Hickenlooper’s opponent was chosen.

And here comes Bob Beauprez.

He crushed Tom Tancredo in the Republican primary. And he has a shot of becoming Colorado’s next governor. The Denver Post recently ran a piece about the “6-year-pushback,” the idea that there comes a push-back against the President’s party after 6 years in office, the result of voter frustration after 6 years of policy making. There could be a tide of political change in this politically purple state. We could get a Republican governor for the first time since 2007. We could get a Republican senator in the form of Cory Gardner.

Gov. Hickenlooper is now locked into a re-election fight, much like Mark Udall. Polls in mid July showed Governor Hick locked into a statistical tie. A Quinnipiac University poll released on July 15 found Republican Bob Beauprez leading the governor, 44% to 43%.

Hickenlooper has taken a few hard hits in public opinion over the last few years. The first was with the passing of gun-control legislation following the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting. And the second stumble was with the very unpopular decision Governor Hickenlooper made to allow a “temporary reprieve” on the death penalty sentence of mentally-ill killer Nathan Dunlap. Bob Beauprez is jockeying into position to exploit public anger on these two issues. That combined with the public anger about “Obama-care” and the Dems have an uphill battle to November.

And we the citizens get caught in the middle with the mind numbing political ads that fill our tv screens on the local channels. Super PACS are out in force. We have ads from Karl Rove’s Super PAC, the Koch Brothers Super PAC, the Republican Senate Majority PAC, the Democrat Senate Majority PAC, then from Udall and Gardner’s campaigns directly. It is mind numbing. Combine that with the oil company propaganda ads which tell us that fracking is safe, effective, and counters our reliance on Middle Eastern oil. Nevermind that is completely unsafe and ruins the drinking water and farmland. Nevermind that it is causing earthquakes in Greeley, Colorado, a place that has never had any earthquake activity.

Time and Politico both recently published in-depth pieces that did an excellent job examining the impact of Jared Polis’ anti-fracking state-wide ballot measures that could potentially be on the ballot in November, if enough signatures are had by the August 4th deadline.  Democrats are concerned that these measures will serve as Republican turn out machines in November. This may cast the death blow to Mark Udall and to Gov. Hickenlooper. While I admire Rep. Jared Polis for speaking out against the intimidating oil and gas lobby in Colorado on fracking, he is not helping out the chances of Mark Udall keeping his Senate seat. Independents could very well be essential in determining who wins the Senate seat and who our governor will be….

Post-Election Update

BROOMFIELD FRACKING BAN RECOUNT

 

Two weeks ago, voters in Broomfield County voters voted on whether to approve a five-year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it is known colloquially. The results of this moratorium, known as “Broomfield Question 300” are not yet settled. The measure, which was failing by 13 votes on election night, narrowly passed by 17 votes after outstanding ballots were certified last week. The narrow margin of victory made a recount mandatory per state law. Wednesday afternoon the recount will commence, with the results known on Thursday.

Fracking has been banned by voters in nearby counties to Broomfield. There are now fracking bans in Boulder, Fort Collins, and Lafayette. Colorado is a state with a large oil and gas industry, which carries with it a large lobby on its behalf. Governor Hickenlooper has been careful to not offend the oil and gas lobby in his time as Governor. He is politically-savvy to do so. There is a lot of political will in Colorado to keep Oil and Gas happy. Meanwhile there is an increased awareness of the dangers to people, communities, and the environment as a result of fracking. Films like the movie “Gasland” and “Gasland 2” have shown us the horrors of fracking. Especially the lasting image of people in Pennsylvania being able to light their drinking-water from the tap on fire because of the chemicals leeched into the water from hydraulic fracturing. This is not an image Americans are quick to forget. So, this Broomfield recount will be watched closely by both environmentalists and those who are pro-oil and gas. Especially in Northern Colorado counties like Weld County. Northern Colorado is experiencing a fracking boom which is making some people very rich.

The way that the oil-and-gas lobby counters the image of being able to light drinking-water on fire is two-fold. One: JOBS. Americans need jobs and there are jobs to be had in hydraulic fracturing. And the second part is touting how it secures America’s Energy Independence from the Middle-East. These are the counter to environmentalists and citizens concerns about pollution and water-quality (or lack thereof.) This is the way the oil and gas lobby can spin things. They can spin it as jobs and energy independence and not just flagrant and staggering short-sighted greed. They can spin it as securing our energy future instead of securing their next quarterly profits, which is of course, all that matters. That and the stock price of oil and gas companies and security of their stock-holders, naturally. It is a behemoth monster we are up against, we, the citizens, who want to have clean drinking water and farm lands and forests free of fracking contaminants.

This pursuit seems perhaps especially pressing and relevant in the face of the recent crippling floods in Colorado in areas where fracking is prevalent, and amid unresolved questions about whether some very serious pollution and contamination happened in fracking-sites devastated by the so-called One Thousand Year Flood in September 2013. The Daily Beast did an investigative piece about this which is worth a read.

I will be watching the results of Broomfield’s recount come in on Thursday and blogging about the results. If I had to venture to guess, I think the fracking ban might fail. Stay tuned…Developing…