UPDATE: In case you missed the opening act for yesterday’s Polis Commission hearing, here’s what radical environmentalist Gwen Lachelt had to say in her opening remarks:
“When I heard that the ballot initiatives would go away as part of this compromise agreement, I was really disappointed. It was a monumental effort to collect the signatures required to put these initiatives on the ballot. Taking those decisions out of the hands of the people of Colorado felt, and still feels, like a real blow to the democratic process.”
The fact that Lachelt is and was so supportive of the ballot initiatives, which would put what is really a regulatory issue in the Colorado constitution, should make people think twice before buying into her brand of extremism.
When we saw this morning’s coverage of the yesterday’s inaugural meeting for the Oil and Gas Task Force, we were puzzled. We listened to most of it via live streaming and found the public testimony portion the most compelling, yet the media coverage of the task force covered just the task force members. Yes, it’s true that those on the task force are important members of the community, but the large number of pro-industry vs. few anti-industry speakers was startling. Even co-chair Gwen Lachelt, who offered sympathetic quotes about the ballot measures, noticed the overwhelming support for energy development. A source told us that as she was leaving, she told her cohorts, “when the 17th or 18th pro-industry person got up to testify, I thought I would just roll over and play dead.”
Of course, the obvious implication of that statement is that she views the oil and gas industry as an adversary, which is a far cry from the Kumbaya mantra of working together in which she cloaks her anti-industry agenda. But, we digress. A more balanced public testimony – some who were pro-industry, some who were pro-initiative – perhaps would not have been a story. The fact was that the testimony was overwhelmingly supportive of the oil and gas industry – by some estimates as much as ten-to-one. We recall hearing two, maybe three, pro-initiative folks testify. What was more interesting was that the anti-regulation folks weren’t just a bunch of older gentlemen employed by the oil and gas industry. People came from all walks of life to support a major underpinning of Colorado’s economy. There was a young woman who works in the human resources department of an energy company in tears over potential over-regulation that would lead to job loss among her friends and family. The National Association for Advancement of Colored People asked that the task force not implement regulation that would lead to job loss. There were elderly farmers and ranchers who said that energy development helped them pay their bills. Women who had family land for generations, sisters who both worked in the industry, members of communities who had benefited from the tax dollars the industry paid, elected officials, and more. Where is that in the media coverage of this meeting? Apparently, we’re not the only ones who noticed:
Yesterday’s public commentary portion highlighted just how much the Polis Commission and the initiatives are truly a loud and clamoring (and well-funded) tyranny of the minority. It’s too bad that the media seemed to miss this important point.