When Colorado’s Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, refused to appeal a March court decision that would change how Colorado’s oil and gas regulatory agency, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Committee, has reviewed drilling projects for the last decade, Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman took action and appealed the decision, known as the Martinez decision.
The plaintiffs in the case, several teenagers backed by national radical environmental groups, wanted the COGCC to stop issuing drilling permits “unless it can be demonstrated that drilling ‘does not adversely impact human health and does not contribute to climate change.'”
Yes, it’s that ridiculous.
What’s even more ridiculous is that the COGCC voted unanimously to appeal the decision. This should have been a no-brainer. But where was Hick?
In advance of the impending appeal decision requirement, 30 groups and lawmakers sent a letter to Hick begging him not to appeal. And the letter must have worked because surely the Governor wouldn’t cut at the knees an industry as important as the oil and natural gas industry just ’cause. Right?
In case you think this is just a partisan, Republican vs. Democratic issue, critique of the Governor did not only come from Republicans. Democrat Boulder, yes that Boulder, District Attorney Stan Garnett, a self-identified environmentalist who once ran for AG, called Hick’s posturing a mistake. Here’s what he wrote on Facebook:
“I am 100% pro environment and as concerned about fracking as anyone. But as a lawyer who has practiced for 35 years and appeared many times in the Colorado Appellate courts, I think it is a mistake not to seek Colorado Supreme Court review of the court of appeals decision in the Martinez v. COGC[C] case and the pressure being put on the Governor in that regard is misdirected. A court of appeals opinion is of some value as precedent, but not nearly as valuable as a Colorado Supreme Court Opinion. We have a good supreme court who may well uphold the Court of Appeals. Moreover, the Supreme Court will address this issue eventually one way or another and this looks like a pretty good record to present to them. Political pressure with regard to court opinions and decisions is rarely a good idea and would be much better focused at electing a legislature more inclined to listen to the public’s concerns.”
Just goes to show that when push comes to shove, Hick either makes no decision or the wrong decision when it comes to legal matters. Just ask the families of the victims of Nathan Dunlap.