When we launched Western Wire earlier this year, our goal was to write stories and cover issues that traditional media was slow to report on. We had a hunch that the dwindling number of reporters meant there were important stories that weren’t getting the time and attention they deserve. A perfect example is Western Wire’s coverage of the cozy ties between elected officials and a controversial anti-fracking activist from Boulder County in Colorado.
Democrats and environmentalists are fond of talking about “inconvenient truths,” so here’s one they might chew on during this pause in the 71st General Assembly. Colorado’s Energy Office met its demise in the waning hours of the just-closed legislative session not because of Republicans, who made a good-faith effort to reauthorize and re-energize what had become a listless and ineffectual bureaucratic backwater.
Governor Hickenlooper would be wise to challenge the Colorado Court of Appeals decision forcing the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to reinterpret its mission. State lawmakers have charged the COGCC with fostering “responsible, balanced” development, production and use of oil and gas “in a manner consistent with protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources.”
If a top Colorado news reporter like Joey Bunch raises concerns with one of our stories, we take it seriously. Western Wire is a new reporting project, and we will always welcome constructive criticism from those we respect. On Saturday afternoon, Joey emailed Western Energy Alliance, the organization that supports Western Wire, regarding our story, “Winter Blast Putting Climate Protests On Ice In Colorado.” In the story he published at Colorado Politics later that evening, Joey attempted to take us to task. But in our opinion, he failed to read our story closely, and he missed the point of our reporting entirely.
There’s an old and unfortunate truth about Washington, D.C.: “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” For the past eight years, the Obama administration’s “keep-it-in-the-ground” policies have kept the oil and gas industry “on the menu” and stymied responsible energy development and threatened to make energy more expensive for families all across the West.
Environmental activist groups are pulling out all the stops to save the Obama administration’s last-minute “venting and flaring” rule, which targets oil and natural gas development on federal lands. Unfortunately for them, however, that means shining a spotlight on their real agenda and who pays for it. And it turns out groups arguing in favor of the methane rule, claiming it will increase natural gas production and tax revenues, have close ties to anti-oil and gas organizations and the “keep it in the ground” campaign.
For years, anti-oil and natural gas groups like 350.org, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club urged President Barack Obama to “keep it in the ground.” Well, it turns out the former president actually did a pretty good job for these groups. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management recently released its data for fiscal year 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration. When you compare those numbers to the data from 2008, the year before President Obama took office, the contrast is compelling.