In the News
Tom Steyer is back in Colorado politics. Well, actually, he never really left.
Anyone who follows politics in our state should know Steyer well. He’s the environmental activist and California hedge-fund billionaire who spent more than $7 million on a failed campaign against U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R) in 2014. He poured at least $2 million more into Colorado politics in 2016, spending big on the presidential election and another failed campaign to seize control of the Colorado state legislature.
For years, national anti-oil and gas groups have attempted a hostile takeover of Colorado politics. They have tried to turn Democrats and Republicans against one of the state’s most important economic sectors — an industry that provides energy for every business and every household across Colorado, not to mention thousands upon thousands of jobs.
The anti-oil and gas campaign gets plenty of press attention, certainly, but it’s been a failure so far. Groups like 350.org in New York and Food & Water Watch in Washington, D.C., have never succeeded in placing anti-oil and gas measures on Colorado’s statewide ballot, much less winning a statewide campaign here. With a few exceptions, they aren’t taken seriously by state lawmakers. And their so-called victories have been confined almost completely to Boulder County and its suburbs — not the best platform for a statewide campaign.
The more things change, the more they stay the same — especially if you’re in the business of running anti-oil and gas campaigns in Colorado.
In late December, a coalition of environmental activist groups announced the introduction of a statewide ballot measure targeting Colorado’s energy sector. “We’re doing this for a second time,” said campaign spokesperson Suzanne Spiegel. “We learned a ton last time, and that’s why we’re doing it again.”
The interview was unusually candid. Quite possibly, the interview subject — one of the nation’s top environmental activists — forgot he was on the record.
“New injunctions … and new bad press take a terrible toll on agency morale,” he said, describing his group’s legal and political tactics against environmental regulators. “They feel like their careers are being mocked and destroyed — and they are.”
Vital For Colorado Opposes Solar Import Tariffs, Urges ‘Pro-Business Policies For All Energy Sources’
DENVER (Nov. 20, 2017) – In response to proposed tariffs and price floors on imported crystalline-silicone solar products, Vital for Colorado submitted the following comments to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:
We are writing on behalf of Vital for Colorado, a coalition of more than 70,000 local business leaders, elected officials and citizens focused on energy policy. Our organization works to maintain a pro-business climate in Colorado by promoting and defending one of our state’s most important economic engines – oil and natural gas development.
We are, however, an organization with an “all of the above” approach to energy. In fact, the origins of Vital for Colorado can be traced back to the renewable energy advocacy work of the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce in the late 2000s. After successfully promoting Colorado as a destination for renewable energy investment, the members of our coalition turned their attention to attracting and retaining investment in the state’s longstanding oil and natural gas sector.
National environmental groups have a First Amendment right to campaign at any level of government they choose – federal, state or local – just as the business community, energy workers and regular citizens have free-speech rights to oppose these campaigns.
For the record, I work on the pro-business side of the street with a group that opposes many of these environmental campaigns because they divide our communities and threaten real harm to Colorado’s economy. I make no secret of it.
After the failure of statewide anti-fracking ballot measures in Colorado last year, national activist groups are regrouping at the local level. This is history repeating. Several years ago, the push for a statewide oil and gas ban started with local campaigns, led by Washington, D.C.-based Food & Water Watch and other out-of-state groups.
Today, the activists are using local governments once again to win statewide attention. This time, they are trying harder to conceal their national ties and portray their lobbying as authentic and spontaneous. But if you know where to look, it’s clear these revamped local campaigns are just as contrived as ever...(Read More)
DENVER (Aug. 15, 2017) – The office of Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is once again warning local officials not to pass unlawful restrictions on oil and natural gas development at the behest of outside activist groups.
The latest warning comes in a letter from Coffman’s office to the City of Thornton, where local regulations will receive a second reading vote Tuesday, Aug. 22.
National environmental activist groups have spent years trying to wipe out oil and natural gas development in Colorado. Sometimes, they openly demand a ban. More often, they propose unworkable laws and regulations that would bring energy development to a grinding halt.
Keeping up with the different demands and proposals is tough, but the goal is always the same. Just ask Josh Joswick, a Colorado organizer with the national anti-oil and gas group Earthworks.