From the Cheap Seats: Who Needs Lobbyists When You Have Legislators?

April 29, 2013

Conservation Colorado wants more lobbyists, but their political allies control both legislative chambers

We at Cheap Seats were incredibly moved by the fundraising plea sent out Saturday by Conservation Colorado bemoaning the plight of the poor, defenseless environmental movement.

“Outnumbered 20 to 1,” the money-grab begins, and it’s not referring to the Democratic-Republican ratio in the legislature.

No, Conservation Colorado claims that the oil-and-gas industry has more lobbyists in the state legislature than the environmental movement.

As a result, says Conservation Colorado head honcho Pete Maysmith, House Bill 1269 could be in danger.

“We’re working hard to pass this bill but currently we are outnumbered 20 to 1 by oil and gas lobbyists fighting to kill this common-sense solution,” says Maysmith. 

For those who may not recall the details of H.B. 1269 in the barrage of liberal legislation flooding the state capitol, the measure would require those serving on the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to disclose their financial ties to the industry, such as employment.

Which they already do. The original measure would have prohibited anyone working in the industry from serving on the commission, but after Gov. John Hickenlooper hinted that the bill wouldn’t make it past his desk, Democrats were forced to water it down.

Here’s the real problem: The bill also changes the commission’s focus from the responsible development of oil and gas to protecting “public health, safety and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources.”

The change is a sop to suburbanites who’ve been pumped up into a frenzy by the environmental movement over hydraulic fracturing, despite the continued lack of scientific evidence that the procedure does anything other than remove fossil fuels from the ground. 

The Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear the bill Monday. While the bill is likely to advance, Maysmith worries that lobbyists for those pro-economic growth types may stall his quest to return the state to its hunter-gatherer roots. 

We haven’t actually counted the number of lobbyists registered with the industry versus those working for the environmental movement. But we would point out that Conservation Colorado doesn’t really need much in the way of lobbying when it has Democratic majorities in the House and Senate eager to do its bidding.

Let’s hope the poor schmucks, er, environmental activists at the receiving end of Conservation Colorado’s latest dollar-dig bear that in mind before breaking out their checkbooks.

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