Mountain States

Energy Secretary’s Colorado Visit Could Be Awkward for Rep. Polis

Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz is heading to Colorado tomorrow to hold an energy forum at the Colorado School of Mines with Senator Mark Udall.  As Politico reported, they will “discuss how Colorado’s diverse approach to energy development is a model for the nation.”

That could prove awkward for Rep. Jared Polis (D-Boulder), who is currently working hand in glove with national ban-fracking activists to help shut down oil and gas development in Colorado.  Interestingly, the Colorado School of Mines happens to be in Jefferson County, which is a key swing district.

Secretary Moniz has long touted the environmental and economic benefits of shale development.  Just as a refresher, here are a few examples:

  • “This new resource is of critical importance. If you look at Pennsylvania, it’s amazing, in the Marcellus shale… They have gone from a very, very minor contributor to the national natural gas production, to nearly 20 percent in a remarkably short period. And as we know, that has had enormous economic benefits for the state.” [Link]
  • “I still have not seen any evidence of fracking per se contaminating groundwater.” [Link]
  • “It’s been a big contributor to our carbon reduction.” [Link]
  • “I think the issues in terms of the environmental footprint of hydraulic fracturing are manageable.” [Link]

Moniz’s visit comes not long after U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy traveled to Boulder, Colo., to tout the benefits of shale development for the state and the nation:

“Responsible development of natural gas is an important part of our work to curb climate change and support a robust clean energy market at home.  It also has huge potential to help power our factories and our vehicles, while at the same time cutting our dependence on foreign oil.”

McCarthy also highlighted the economic benefits, saying,

“Industry experts predict that natural gas alone can support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. Right now, this industry is supporting nearly 140,000 jobs in Colorado.”

Colorado Democrats have followed suit: Senator Mark Udall is campaigning on being a “champion of Colorado’s natural gas industry”; Governor John Hickenlooper is a strong supporter of responsible shale development in Colorado.  Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has said that “hydraulic fracturing is safe” and it’s “creating an energy revolution in the United States.”

If that’s not enough, the White House just released a report today which calls American shale development “remarkable” for its environmental, economic and energy security benefits.  Just a few highlights from the report:

  • “These developments have had substantial economic and energy security benefits, and they are helping to reduce carbon emissions in the energy sector and thereby tackle the challenge posed by climate change.” (p. 2).
  • “The energy sector has provided key support to the recovery from the Great Recession.” (p. 3)
  • “Rising domestic energy production has made a significant contribution to GDP growth and job creation.  The increases in oil and natural gas production alone contributed more than 0.2 percentage point to real GDP growth in both 2012 and 2013, and employment in these sectors increased by 133,000 between 2010 and 2013.” (p. 3)
  • “The United States has emerged as the world’s leading producer of petroleum and natural gas.” (p. 3).
  • “The United States has reduced its total carbon pollution since 2005 more than any other nation on Earth.” (p. 3).

Secretary Moniz’s visit provides yet more evidence of how isolated Representative Polis has become by siding with extreme anti-fracking groups such as Food & Water Watch, Americans Against Fracking and Frack Free Colorado, whose political agenda calls for nothing less than a ban on oil and gas development across Colorado and the rest of the nation.

But Polis’ increasingly marginalized position isn’t surprising considering that responsible leaders don’t help political activists whose agenda calls for wiping out an industry that supports more than 110,000 Colorado jobs, almost $30 billion of economic activity and $1.6 billion in tax revenue.


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