Energy industry will face renewed attacks in Legislature and elsewhere
Since we’re at the beginning of a new year, we should pick out some of our favorite things from the last one. I have to pick as one of my favorite photographs from The Daily Sentinel last year a photo by Dennis Webb that was published on Dec. 21.
In that photo are shown four people at a natural gas well, listening to one gentleman talk while two of the three spectators are wearing respirators. One of the attendees had come all the way from Colorado Springs for the opportunity to strap on an uncomfortable petrochemical-manufactured mask and stand in the clear mountain air and be told how dangerous it apparently was to be there. His name, I believe, was Lotus.
In all likelihood, the air at Lotus’ home in Colorado Springs is probably more dangerous to consume than that at the well pad. It was probably more harmful that most of the people weren’t wearing hats and were standing out in the sun.
We may not know if anything happens at that well pad from any gases, but we can be darn sure that sitting out there in the sun day after day can be bad. It’s been reported the sun can actually heat the sidewalk to a point where an egg can be fried on it. I’ve seen video.
So, this may be the symbolic start to what will most likely prove to be an equally silly and irrational session of the Colorado Legislature dealing with energy production. The energy industry in Colorado will be assailed from all sides over the coming year, in the Legislature, the courts and in the public sphere.
The Legislature, over the last four years, has weaponized its regulatory agency, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, into a purveyor of increasingly extreme positions on environmental issues. Many of these could be damaging to political reputations if voted upon by legislators. But by acquiescing through the commission and its continuing leftward lurch in appointments by Democratic governors, lawmakers are insulated from direct fallout.
Action could be taken by the Legislature to curtail or limit some of the commission’s actions, but it will not be done, especially since both houses have now been captured by the Democrats. A test will now be to see if Gov. John Hickenlooper’s more sensible positions on energy development will hold up when he actually begins finding extreme regulatory bills landing on his desk, awaiting his signature.
Recent news stories indicate further “groundbreaking” regulations have been proposed by the commission and its staff, which are busily trying to minimize impacts of drilling that may not exist.
It’s amazing how effective one can be by prohibiting things that probably aren’t happening. What a success rate.
If you’re interested in commenting on these new rules, hearings will be held at the epicenter of energy production in Colorado — the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel. That location tells the story.
There will, of course, be Hollywood misinformation to go along with such efforts, and the earliest example this year is the Matt Damon film, “Promised Land.” It tells the tale of how doe-eyed Mr. Damon is working for an evil energy company that is eagerly hoping to destroy the lives of bucolic residents in Pennsylvania. Yes, we’ve reached the point where enough energy production has been scared out of Colorado that they’re not making movies about it here anymore. Much like the energy industry, Hollywood has transferred its interest to Pennsylvania.
It’s fitting that Investor’s Business Daily reports that a major financier of the movie is a company wholly owned by the United Arab Emirates, which is hardly in the business of encouraging domestic energy production in the United States.
Investor’s Business Daily also mentions the film contains a scene where tap water is set on fire. That is seemingly inspired by a dramatic moment from a prior production that was quite attention-getting but found to be a fraud by a Texas state District Judge, who ruled that a house gas pipe had been connected to a hose prior to lighting the water on fire.
The struggle against extraction energy production in the state will likely reach a crescendo in this year’s Legislature, while many other groups will work the court system with procedural challenges.
National politics are troubling, but there’s plenty to occupy our time right here in Colorado.
Rick Wagner writes more on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.