When Gov. John Hickenlooper was more worried about being reelected than doing what was best for Colorado, he probably envisioned this was how his so-called magic bullet, blue-ribbon taskforce would end: just more gridlock. Such a scenario wouldn’t need to be the case, had Hick any type of backbone to stand up to Rep. Jared Polis. Rather, if rumors are true, certain Polis hand-picked members on the task force are preventing a consensus of what is abundantly clear to those task force members without an agenda: there is already more than enough local control.
Even former Colorado Secretary of State, Democrat Bernie Buescher can read the writing on the wall, as he told The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:
Task force member Bernie Buescher, a former Colorado secretary of state from Grand Junction, for one, doesn’t think the group’s work so far is leading down the path of new regulations.
“The conversations we’ve been having these past few months have been more about cooperation and collaboration, not about more regulation,” Buescher said during the break-out session. “That’s just not been the conversation we’re having.”
That would certainly be the preference of many Western Slope representatives who spoke during the meeting Wednesday… [the Peak’s emphasis]
In fact, the taskforce is only paralyzed because certain members of it came in with an already set agenda that they are having a hard time pushing since the facts on the ground don’t support their preconceived beliefs. Chief among them is co-chairwoman Gwen Lachelt. Such a failure is her partisan-hack leadership that the taskforce couldn’t even agree on an agenda for their next meeting, let alone recommendations for the state legislature. As Peter Marcus at The Durango Herald reported:
In fact, the task force – with La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt serving as co-chairwoman – had a bit of a breakdown at the end of its two-day meeting in Rifle, failing to agree on an agenda for its next meeting scheduled for Jan. 15 in Greeley.
Some members wanted to limit the upcoming hearing to two panels, focused on health impacts and input from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. But others on the panel pointed out that since the meeting will be in energy-heavy Weld County, there should be local points of view, as well.
Interesting, Lachelt and people of her ilk want to let “local points of view” be heard when they know they have activists in the area who could never qualify as experts, but, when the shoe is on the other foot, and locals who benefit from Colorado’s current regulation want to be heard, suddenly there is no time.
If it wasn’t clear before, it certainly is clear now: This task force is nothing more than a swindler’s shell-game put on by Hickenlooper to grease his way to reelection. Now, at best, this taskforce will produce nothing of value, and at worst, they’ll be used as an excuse to place even more burdensome regulations on our already most-regulated-in-the-country energy development industry.