Mountain States

Polis Wants You to Know He Supports Fracking, Really

It was certainly good to hear from the Polis for Colorado campaign this morning, especially when they wrote to Energy In Depth to clarify that “Jared Polis has never supported a ban on fracking.”

In fact, his campaign was emphatic about Polis’ support for fracking, writing that our recent post focused on U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet’s support of Colorado’s oil and gas industry should be updated immediately and “will follow-up as necessary.”

For those of us in Colorado’s oil and gas industry, it’s easy to see why anyone running for office would support oil and gas development. Here in Colorado, oil and gas is important, as more than 230,000 people are employed by the industry in the state and the industry provides nearly $1.2 billion to state and local governments which will go back to the community, funding public service, education and many other necessities.

Alienating an entire industry during a statewide run for office doesn’t typically help a candidate win more votes.

The Polis campaign reached out to Energy In Depth after we posted a blog last night calling attention to Sen. Bennet’s interview where he once again noted his support for Colorado’s oil and gas industry. In that post, we included one line that notes that Polis has a long history of teaming up with anti-fossil fuel organizations and supporting anti-fracking ballot measures in Colorado.

Here is that line:

“Polis has a history of siding with activist groups, supporting ban-fracking initiatives.”

Now, let’s get back to the matter at hand. What does Jared Polis’ track record look like on the fracking issue in Colorado?

  • First, the Denver media has spent considerable time looking into this issue. There is a recent Denver Post story that noted comments from anti-fracking activists and the plaintiff of the Martinez vs. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) case that seeks to ban fracking through changing the way that the COGCC issues permits, an effort that Polis supports.

“The problem with Jared is I’m not sure which Jared will show up,” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a prominent environmental activist from Boulder, wrote in a Facebook post.

  • A Politico article from 2014 stated that “Polis is quietly financing a series of statewide ballot measures to allow Colorado cities and counties to regulate, zone and even ban fracking, the commonly used process in which a pressurized mix of water, sand and chemicals are pumped deep below the surface of the earth to loosen natural gas deposits for extraction,” and that Polis’ position on the subject jeopardized the Democratic party in the state.
  • A Boulder Weekly story from 2014 that provides a reaction to Polis pulling the plug on the setback ballot proposal campaign he was funding gives a clear idea of Polis’ engagement with anti-fracking initiatives:

“Within hours of the breaking news that the anti-fracking ballot measures were not going to make it onto this year’s ballot, Boulder Weekly began receiving copies of an email that had been sent out by Nick Passanante, the campaign director for Safe. Clean. Colorado., the group funded by Polis that controlled the measures.

The email apologized to activists in the anti-fracking movement for blindsiding them with the decision to pull the measures and explained that the concessions from [Colorado Gov. John] Hickenlooper were the best outcome that could be arranged under the circumstances.”

  • And then there is endorsement of the Sierra Club in the Democratic primary. We wrote about that too. Sierra Club’s Colorado Chapter has endorsedPolis and contributed $600,000 contribution to his campaign. This is the same Sierra Club whose stated goal is to ban fracking and supported the 2016 anti-fracking ballot measure and this year’s 2,500-foot setback ballot proposal, the one that Jared Polis says he’s not supporting this go around.
  • In 2014, Polis backeda similar pair of statewide initiatives but pulled his support after Gov. Hickenlooper described them as “radical” and “extreme measures that would drive oil and gas out of Colorado.” That same year, billionaire activist Tom Steyer held talks with Polis about splitting the cost of putting anti-fracking measures on the statewide ballot.
  • In continuing this trip down memory lane, Polis stood alongsideJosh Fox, “ban fracking” activist and Gasland director, and Hollywood actor and anti-fracking activist Mark Ruffalo during a 2015 FRAC Act press conference and rally in Washington, D.C.

Source: NRDC

  • And in 2011, Polis hosteda Capitol Hill press conference for Josh Fox as seen below.

Source: Earthworks

“We’re willing to fight hard on our end here in Congress, but change happens when our citizens demand action. Josh Fox and Mark Ruffalo have done an amazing job bridging the gap between government policy and grassroots support and built up an army of believers devoted to the cause.” (emphasis added)

Conclusion:

Again, we appreciate the Polis campaign for reaching out to try and clarify his position on oil and gas development. His past record does need a lot of explaining. But in the end, Polis needs to provide reassurance on the fracking issue because it’s “important that correct, accurate information,” be made available to Colorado voters.

1 Comment
  • Ethan Bellamy
    Posted at 10:14h, 26 July Reply

    Hey folks – How do we reconcile the Dems’ main guy, Polis, backing off from Initiative 97, while the State committee does just the opposite and endorses it: https://coloradopolitics.com/colorado-democrats-fracking/

    Who is controlling whom? Who will roll over? Is Polis giving up the strategy of going centrist for the general election?

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