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Record oil production and output levels across several Western states marked an “astonishing” year for New Mexico and several other Western states, according to new reporting data. New figures for the full year of 2017 released late last month by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show New Mexico’s oil production topped 172 million barrels of oil in 2017, up from the previous record of 147 million barrels produced in 2015. The state’s December monthly output, 17.2 million barrels, was the highest going back to 1981.
National elites in climate research, philanthropy, activism, and the private sector joined elected officials in Denver last week at the posh Four Seasons, a five-star high-rise hotel to strategize how to carry on a climate agenda without taxpayer dollars. Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy led a ‘Who’s Who’ of former administration policy advisers, climate activists, state regulators, politicians, and company officials through the three-day Climate Leadership Conference covering climate-related talks on collaboration between governments at all levels, various climate initiatives including the Paris agreement, and technological development.
Deference to federal authority, state supremacy in oil and gas regulations, and attorney general independence were among the issues contested between candidates vying for Colorado’s open attorney general seat come November. Denver attorney Brad Levin, a Democrat, and George Brauchler, a Republican and prosecutor, squared off at an attorney general forum sponsored by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association earlier this week.
The prospects for a possible climate lawsuit currently under consideration in Boulder, Colo. could change following a pair of California municipalities lost their bid to keep the climate lawsuits they filed against oil and gas companies in state court after a judge ruled the litigation must remain in federal court. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California’s Judge William Alsup denied Oakland and San Francisco’s motions last week that sought to return their climate cases to state court. The cities have sued BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell, alleging flood damages as a result of what they claim are the effects of climate change such as sea-level rise and the need for mitigation, including sea walls.
The director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s air and water quality programs recommended “taking baby steps” on pushing climate action and cautioned that the City of Boulder’s potential climate lawsuit against oil and gas developers might not be the best approach in pushing an environmental agenda. The CDPHE’s Martha Rudolph spoke with Western Wire following a panel on state climate action at the Climate Leadership Conference in Denver this week.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) welcomed proposed revisions to the Department of Interior’s reorganization plan and said the possible relocation of the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to the West would be a “different approach” to federal action in comments on Thursday. Hickenlooper spoke with reporters at the Climate Leadership Conference in Denver.
Last week, Western Wire Managing Editor Michael Sandoval joined Jon Caldara, President of the Denver-based Independence Institute, a free market think tank, to discuss the possible climate lawsuit being explored by the City of Boulder, Colorado. Following an open records request filed by Western Wire, documents revealed the City Attorney’s Office was planning to “send out a confidential memo with updated information regarding potential costs and risk” of a climate lawsuit.