U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton

Now that U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton has a Democratic opponent, he is under fire for proposing a compromise last month to resolve the issue of oil and gas leases on the Thompson Divide.

It was the compromise that environmentalists wanted, and the industry agreed to last year — exchange the current leases that companies have spent tons of money, to develop on leases elsewhere.

Tipton has been passing around draft legislation for weeks to stakeholders, but now his opponent and her greenie backers are screaming foul with the tired cliche that the bill doesn’t go far enough because it “does not spell out a plan for long-term conservation in the Thompson Divide.”

Tipton is not making it a secret that industry targeted by environmentalists to get kicked off the divide wrote some of the proposed language to strip themselves of their own business and start all over someplace else.

Tipton says he would also consider draft language from environmentalists, only they have not offer any.

That Tipton relied on an outside group to help with his proposal is not uncommon; members of Congress routinely call on lobbyists, issue experts and special-interest groups to help write federal legislation.

Indeed, the language Tipton used as a template also was sent last year to the offices of Colorado U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, and Cory Gardner, a Republican, according to an e-mail provided by a Tipton aide.

But the company gave Tipton campaign donations, scream environmentalists, completely ignoring the fact that they give heavily to Colorado Democrats including Bennet, to support their causes.

As a matter of fact, former Bennet staffer Zane Kessler is leading the charge against drilling on the divide and we’ve noticed his name popping up in stories about Tipton’s bill.

This is a classic case, of no good deed goes unpunished. Tipton drafted a bill to stop drilling on Thompson Divide, but for environmentalists, it’s not enough.

“It’s not that oil and gas drilling shouldn’t occur anywhere. It’s that oil and gas drilling shouldn’t occur everywhere,” said Zane Kessler, executive director of the Thompson Divide Coalition, which opposes the drilling. “There are certain places that are inappropriate for development.”

Those inappropriate places for development Kessler references, are also known as Planet Earth.