Scott’s calculus doesn’t add up

As a candidate last year, now-state Rep. Ray Scott initially talked of rolling back entirely the changes in the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and its rules that were adopted over the past four years.

When it became apparent that political reality made that an impossibility — even some GOP leaders said there was no chance of such legislation passing — Scott took more modest aim at the Oil and Gas Commission.

The bill he is now attempting to shepherd through the state Legislature would add two more industry representatives to the nine-member commission. This is the same commission that was expanded through bipartisan legislation in 2008 to include more non-industry representatives because most observers agreed it leaned too heavily in favor of the industry.

Scott’s latest ploy reminds us of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fight with what he described as the “nine old men” on the U.S. Supreme Court. When the court repeatedly rejected the constitutionality of his Depression-era programs, FDR threatened to pack the court by expanding its size and appointing people more amenable to his philosophy.

FDR never accomplished that, however, and we don’t think Scott will be any more successful in his effort to pack the Oil and Gas Commission. Even if his bill wins passage in the Republican-controlled House — and that is a big “if” — there is little chance of it passing in the Senate, where the Democrats have the majority.

This is one more instance of Scott grandstanding, wasting legislative time and resources on a bill he knows has little chance of being passed, so he and his colleagues can again raise the long-discredited claim that state regulations are primarily responsible for the downturn in the natural gas industry.


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