Rep. Doug Lamborn
WASHINGTON — Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn has asked the Air Force to update its current rules to ensure that there are adequate protections in place for religious freedom for its personnel.
Lamborn led nearly two-dozen Republicans including Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman to sign a letter Tuesday to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stating their concerns that the outdated regulations are the most restrictive policy of any military branch.
“Unfortunately, the August 2012 Air force regulations which govern religious freedom and expression are inconsistent with Congressional intent and current law,” the lawmakers said.
“The right to free speech and religion is a self-protecting right – not grounds for a bystander to silence a leader’s speech simply because the bystander objects to certain opinions,” the lawmakers said. Read more »
Rep. Cory Gardner
WASHINGTON — A critical measure by Rep. Cory Gardner advanced in the House Wednesday that would cut bureaucratic red tape and increase the exportation of natural gas to boost the U.S. economy as well as global competition.
Republicans passed the bill on a party-line vote of 15 to 11 in the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on energy and power.
Gardner’s would also send a political message to Russia, which is threatening to cut off the energy supply to Ukraine, that gas from the U.S. would be available as an alternative energy source.
“Opposing this legislation would be like hanging up on a 911 call from our friends and allies abroad,” Gardner said.
“This bill will help many of our allies and trading partners all over the world, while providing jobs and economic growth here at home,” Gardner said. Read more »
Greater Sage Grouse
WASHINGTON — Colorado officials warned a House committee Tuesday that a lack of transparency in the Obama administration’s efforts to protect the sage grouse as an endangered species threatens the scientific validity of the process.
Rob Roy Ramey of Nederland, an independent biologist whose career has focused on species protection, told the House Natural Resources Committee that the process has been closed to the scientific community and that federal officials refuse to share certain data being used to make a final determination.
“It can be like pulling teeth to try and obtain that data,” Ramey said. “The (information) is shared among a good old boys club of people, and yet the data is not public and we’re about to spend billions, if not trillions of dollars on this listing.” Read more »
Rep. Doug Lamborn
WASHINGTON – Rep. Doug Lamborn on Wednesday blasted the Democratic-controlled Senate for blocking 220 bills passed by the House aimed mostly at creating jobs and boosting the economy as he dubbed the upper chamber a “productivity graveyard.”
“Senate Democrats’ sole concern seems to be with protecting themselves from taking votes, recorded votes that might anger their liberal donors or their voters,” the Colorado Republican said during a floor speech.
“They do this by closing off debate, eliminating amendments and writing their bills in secret shutting out Republican voices and input,” Lamborn said.
Since the current congressional session started in January 2013, the House has sent a total of 331 bills to the Senate. In stark contrast, the Senate has passed 67 votes on measures that were then sent to the House. Read more »
The Brighton City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to rescind its short-term moratorium on oil and gas development passed earlier this month in order for new regulations to be drafted and approved.
The emergency ordinance states that officials would dismiss their previous action based on assurances from energy officials there were no oil and gas operators planning to request a drilling permit before the new regulations could be implemented in July.
The initial decision by the city council prompted objections from Minority Whip and state Rep. Kevin Priola (R-Henderson) who said the moratorium would be devastating for the local economy and “sends a terrible message about the business environment here.” Read more »
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
WASHINGTON — The president would have to adhere to environmental regulations before using the Antiquities Act to designate future national monuments under legislation passed Wednesday by the House on a 222 to 201 vote.
The reform bill would require the president to follow the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and gather public input before acting unilaterally.
Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, the bill’s author, said the Antiquities Act has been abused for political purposes and that the president should abide by the same environmental laws as Congress and federal government agencies to make sure the public has a say, and that private property is not scooped up in the process.
“The use of the Antiquities Act has changed over the years and not necessarily for the better,” Bishop said. Read more »
Rep. Cory Gardner
WASHINGTON — Legislation authored by Rep. Cory Gardner to eliminate bureaucratic red tape and expedite exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to U.S. allies including Ukraine will be considered Tuesday by a House panel on energy.
The Colorado Republican and other House supporters have been working since October to persuade the Obama administration to approve the backlog of 23 applications that have stalled in the Energy Department.
Russia’s increased aggression against Ukraine has fueled a surge of support among lawmakers here to take action against the former Communist regime. Sending a signal to Russia that the U.S. intends to increase supply of the affordable fuel on the world market would ease that region’s reliance on Russia, say the bill’s supporters.
President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia including a travel ban and asset freezes on numerous Russian officials and a Russian bank after President Vladimir Putin moved on Crimea. Read more »
This story is updated with a response from Matt Sura.
An environmental activist and fracking opponent was hired by the City of Brighton to help draft new regulations for local oil and gas development, prompting concerns from a key lawmaker that the input would taint the process or lead to a permanent ban.
Matt Sura, an environmental lawyer and former director of the Western Colorado Congress, has spoken at anti-fracking events and was reportedly involved in efforts opposing hydraulic fracturing operations in Weld County, the largest producer of oil and gas in the state with 15,000 wells.
Minority Whip and state Rep. Kevin Priola (R-Henderson) said he is concerned about the economic effects in Brighton if the final recommendation is a long-term moratorium on energy development, and expressed particular unease “the city has retained Sura, who has a track record of doing this.”
Sura disputes Priola’s characterization of his work and association with environmental groups, and says he is an oil and gas attorney who helps landowners and mineral owners negotiate lease agreements with the industry. Read more »
Corporal Joe R. Baldonado
WASHINGTON – Corporal Joe R. Baldonado defended Hill 171 near Kangdong, Korea, expertly aiming his machine gun to cut down wave after wave of enemy attackers who were advancing on the squad to seize their position.
His platoon had expended nearly all of its ammunition to repel the attack and had no time to dig in as the enemy advanced to within 25 yards.
The Army infantryman held his exposed position and delivered a withering stream of fire on the advancing enemy that forced them to fall back in disorder.
But then the enemy concentrated all of its firepower on Baldonado and his gun, attempting several times to rush his position while hurling hand grenades that rained down dangerously close but failed to dissuade him from firing continuously at the enemy. Read more »
Rep. Cory Gardner
WASHINGTON – State Sen. Owen Hill dropped out of the U.S. Senate race Monday night all but assuring U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner would be the Republican challenger to take on incumbent Mark Udall.
But in a statement issued Tuesday Hill said he would withhold his endorsement from any GOP contender, contradicting earlier reports suggesting that Gardner was the acknowledged nominee and had his full support.
“I place great faith in our democratic process and want to honor the people’s ability to select their own leaders. Therefore, my full support will be behind the party’s nominee chosen at the State Assembly in April,” Hill said.
“While I expect that Congressman Gardner will be the nominee, state Senator Randy Baumgardner is a friend and colleague in the Senate and I will wait to endorse until Randy decides what he will do,” Hill said.
Republican Mark Aspiri, a Glenwood Springs businessman, is also still in the race. Read more »