Candidate for governor rips existing energy policy in Colorado

DENVER — Scott McInnis, good for the mining industry; Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and the Democrats, bad.

That, at least, was the former Republican congressman’s message Tuesday to about 200 people at the 112th National Western Mining Conference.

“Last week, my opponent the mayor said that this recession is nothing but a family’s mental state,” McInnis said. “As we’re speaking now … there are fellow citizens of ours in the state of Colorado that are getting called into their boss’s office, and they’re finding out they’re losing their jobs.”

McInnis was invited to speak at the conference about energy policy in the 21st century.

But instead of telling the crowd what his plans would be in addressing energy, he spent most of his 35-minute address talking about how bad he thought existing policies have been, and only some of them were about energy.

The former 3rd Congressional District representative attacked current Gov. Bill Ritter for pushing stricter rules on the oil and gas industry, warning miners that their industry would be next if Democrats continued to occupy the governor’s mansion.

“We’re going to make energy policy in Colorado and not in Copenhagen,” he said to loud applause. “This state now has the toughest rules and regulations in natural gas, and don’t think for one moment under the current leadership that we have, if we retain this leadership, that you’re not next in line.”

McInnis said he would reverse those regulations, and he promised to do nothing to stand in the way of the “old” energy economy.

George Glasier said McInnis was right when he said the nation isn’t likely to see more nuclear power anytime soon. McInnis said it would be delayed for years by litigation.

“Lawsuits definitely would interfere with construction of a plant,” Glasier said. “But nuclear plants have become more widely accepted.”

Hickenlooper is scheduled to speak to the group today, but he was trapped Tuesday in Washington, D.C., with no way to get out of town, said his spokesman, Eric Brown.

Snowstorms there have shut down area airports, but the mayor still is expected to address the conference by phone.

Meanwhile, Hickenlooper’s campaign manager, Mike Melanson, had a few words about McInnis’ address:

“As a career politician, I’m not surprised congressman McInnis can’t help himself to use an opportunity to propose solutions to instead attack his opponent,” he said.


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