Friction on Fracking at Democratic Assembly

April 13, 2014
By
Sen. Mark Udall

Sen. Mark Udall

DENVER — The Colorado Democratic Party added to its platform Saturday a resolution opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, a victory for the anti-fracking camp that could further alienate the party’s pro-business wing.

The resolution, approved on a two-thirds voice vote at the Colorado Democratic State Assembly, calls on President Barack Obama to “prohibit development of the Keystone XL pipeline.”

“Colorado Democrats believe our leaders must provide for the long-term protection of our people, our communities, nature and our environment, over and above the interests of short-term corporate greed and profit,” said the resolution’s first clause.

Even as party leaders and elected officials stressed the importance of maintaining unity during the 2014 election cycle, friction over oil and gas development was evident throughout Saturday’s assembly at the Colorado Convention Center.

Few Democratic speakers made mention of state’s oil and gas boom, but when they did, they were loudly interrupted by anti-fracking activists.

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s speech accepting the party’s gubernatorial nomination had barely begun when he was shouted down by an anti-fracking activist, who was cheered as he yelled, “Don’t frack Colorado!”

“Hold on, hold on, we can talk about that outside.” said Hickenlooper, the party’s most prominent supporter of the oil and gas industry.

Sen. Mark Udall tried to temper his position on energy by stating that instead of an “all-of-the-above energy strategy,” he now favors a “best-of-the-above energy strategy.”

But Udall was met with anti-fracking shouts from delegates after saying, “Clean burning natural gas, renewables. You know these energy sources don’t just power homes and our businesses in our communities, they power our economy.”

On the other end was Rep. Jared Polis, a fracking foe who surprised some delegates by placing Hickenlooper’s name in nomination.

“What’s important to show as Democrats door to door in our communities is that we are a united Democratic Party,” said Polis. “There will be forces that try to divide us, but together we will ensure that our state will continue the kind of continued leadership that John Hickenlooper offers.”

Minutes earlier, however, Polis drew applause as he took shots at the oil and gas industry. He called for “protecting our environment across the world in [reducing] our carbon emissions and making sure that America can play a leadership role in addressing global warming.”

“Or here at home, to make sure that natural gas and fracking doesn’t threaten jobs in our state and [the] health of Colorado citizens,” said Polis.

Party leaders have attempted to broker a peace between its economic-development and environmental wings by pushing for tougher regulations on fossil-fuel development, but that compromise is crumbling under pressure from the state’s rising anti-fracking movement.

Democrats are under pressure to choose sides as environmental groups move to place anti-fracking initiatives on the November ballot. If Saturday’s assembly was any indication, the sympathies of the party’s rank-and-file appear to lie with fracking opponents, not industry supporters.

Still, Polis said the party could still maintain unity even if members aren’t in agreement on all issues.

“None of us in this room, none of your delegation, are ever going to agree on every single issue,” said Polis. “Nor should we expect to.”

A recent poll found that a majority of Colorado voters favor the Keystone XL pipeline, and that they would be less likely to vote for candidates who oppose it.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

12 Responses to Friction on Fracking at Democratic Assembly

  1. Charley
    April 13, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Will not vote for anyone who does not support Keystone, Water Rights, Less Government, Strong Defense and Police Enforcement, no Pot, less EPA, Farmers and Ranchers, NRA and Guns, and the Constitution and GOD! A plus if they have the Cowboy Creed!! And yes, I like the BOY SCOUTS just the way they are.

    • Karl Wildforster
      April 14, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      Charley, your are definitely my kind of guy.

  2. Joe Jackson
    April 14, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Looks like the Dims are still talking out of both sides of their mouth. They need to go. For those who don’t like oil and gas, we can make sure your heat and electricity is turned off to your home. No more car, no bike. Go live in a cave.

  3. TexasRick
    April 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Looks like the spoiled brats of the left wing were in full tantrum-throwing mode. Pretty obvious they don’t do reality very well and if you’re loud enough, you must be right. Just because these petulant, little children would like to see our daily existence come to a screeching halt (no transportation, no medical services, no available food) surely there is at least one responsible adult among the Democrats willing to be the parent and make the responsible choices and not keep giving candy to their screaming tikes.

  4. John P
    April 14, 2014 at 10:33 am

    The Democrats/Environmentalists are not going to be happy. Until we are all living a dark cave, hungry and cold…….

  5. 4ever49
    April 14, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Good going Colorado Dems – your true colors are now showing. You are now officially allied with the looney green crowd. The real push back should be clearly seen at the polls in the near future.
    While you are being shown the door, remember where the heat for your house comes from!

  6. LSMFT
    April 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Evoking a bumper sticker from the last go-around on fracking (in the 70s):

    “Let the dumb, starving bastards freeze in the dark.”

  7. Progress4Colorado
    April 14, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    …AND the republican trolls are out in full force to criticize folks who think an intelligent, respectful and robust debate is the correct way to actually SOLVE problems. I was there. (did any of you who commented here actually GO to your party’s Assembly?) It’s a lot better than what the other side does to anyone within their party who doesn’t “toe the line” stained with TEA. And we see how well THAT’s working in our DoNothingButObstruct republican controlled House. I’ll take folks who can disagree, but shake hands with respect, rolling up their sleeves to fight shoulder to shoulder for what’s good about our country — ANY DAY.

    • JR
      April 15, 2014 at 8:01 am

      Progress4Colorado: Is this really what you consider intelligent or respectful?
      http://www.timescall.com/ci_22124306/demonstrators-disrupt-delay-boulder-county-oil-and-gas
      Robust, maybe. Typical of the movement, certainly. After having personally been yelled at and even physically shoved by “enlightened” environmentalists, you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone that what’s going on in the anti-fracking movement constitutes the foundation of a healthy democracy. They’ve got a hypocritical mouthpiece to stump for the cause in Polis, let Udall and Hickenlooper speak.

  8. Brian McFarlane
    April 15, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    It sounds like many Dem leaders want the anti-frackers to pipe down, just be quiet until after the election. They need to get elected first and they know that being anti-oil/gas won’t help. Now after they get elected it they will change, that’s how progressive Democrats work.

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