UPDATE 3: Rep. Coffman also weighed in on Polis’ proposals as they make their way to the ballot:
“Breakthrough advances in energy development have America racing toward energy independence,” said Mike Coffman. “As a combat veteran myself, I know that means we’ll need fewer combat veterans in the future. I fear Jared Polis’s fracking ban initiatives would undermine Colorado’s contribution to the nation’s energy policy. There are plenty of things for Republicans and Democrats to fight about this November. Energy independence shouldn’t be one. Polis should walk away from the initiatives.”
UPDATE 2: Republican Rep. Frank McNulty weighed in on the failure of the ballot proposals:
“Many of us hoped that we could help millionaire Congressman Jared Polis understand that families and communities will be devastated by his aggressive anti-energy agenda. In the end, Polis’ immature ‘take it or leave it’ approach to negotiating a solution left us out in the cold. Now Polis’ only option to avoid hurting families and devastating our communities is to withdraw his energy ban ballot initiatives and end his bullying tactics.
“Why did the special session fail? The Polis proposal was a half-baked political fix that would have tied in knots energy production outside of Weld County, and many of the key insiders clamoring for the special session were partisan liberals more interested in saving Democratic political hides than making good public policy. Those of us who have gone to the trouble of running for election and earning voters’ trust aren’t interested in a take-it-or-leave-it, head-over-heels capitulation to blackmail by politician Polis.
“There is one and only one person responsible for putting Colorado families and communities at risk, and that person is the millionaire congressman from Boulder. It’s his turn to clean it up, this mess is a wholly-owned subsidiary of millionaire Jared Polis.”
UPDATE: Rep. Mark Waller brings up a good point:
— Mark Waller (@Rep_Waller) July 16, 2014
As we have predicted for the past few weeks, the special session is not going to happen, according to KDVR‘s Eli Stokols who broke the story. While Governor Hickenlooper is all too eager to blame “Republican opposition”, he must have forgotten that his party controls the State House, the State Senate as well as the Governor’s mansion. Here are some truths about the special session talks:
1) This entire issue is driven by a spoiled, petty overgrown child of a Congressman (Rep. Jared Polis) who was annoyed because someone across the street from his vacation home dared to exercise his or her property rights to responsibly develop energy.
2) Hickenlooper couldn’t even rally support within his own caucus as his party controls the State House, Senate and Governorship. He could have passed this without a single Republican vote. Then, again, decimating Colorado’s economy driven by one party…? That would have been disastrous for Democrats this year.
3) Some of the legislation proposed would have forced the oil and gas industry to basically handicap itself – is there any wonder that the industry wasn’t clamoring to support it?
4) The special session would have been a costly proposition both in terms of Hick’s political capital and in terms of firing up the Capitol engines again – $25,000 per day in fact. This should have been handled in regular session, but wasn’t. Another sign of failed Democratic leadership.
We almost feel bad for Hickenlooper as this was a task destined to fail, but here’s why we don’t. If at any point, Hickenlooper would have spanked Polis like the child he is, he wouldn’t have been in this situation. Rep. Polis was all too willing to throw Colorado’s economic development under the bus in his very public temper tantrum. (Tip for Nancy Pelosi – should make for a great leader for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a position he’s desperately angling for.)
Colorado voters now have two potential Polis-backed ballot measures left – Amendment 88 and 89. Amendment 88 would take oil and gas setbacks from wells to occupied structures from 500 feet to 2,000 feet, which would eliminate approximately 60% of energy development in Colorado. Amendment 89 would assert Coloradans’ right to a pristine environment.
Now, Hickenlooper will have to either support the 2,000 foot setbacks, which would destroy Colorado’s economy, or come out against the setbacks and alienate his greenie base. An unenviable position for sure.