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Amy Oliver CookeAmy Oliver CookeAugust 2, 20187min3301

Late last summer, and with great fanfare, Xcel Energy announced its proposal to close the Comanche I & II power units in Pueblo a decade ahead of schedule. They offered as replacement the euphemistically titled “Colorado Energy Plan” (CEP), a massive $2.5 billion fuel-switching scheme to move its Colorado customers away from baseload, reliable hydrocarbons in favor of intermittent renewables, predominantly industrial wind.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 17, 201813min310
Today’s jaw-dropper from @RepMikeFoote — “Colorado law currently gives the oil and gas industry virtually unfettered power to force an unwilling mineral rights owner to sell” #coleg https://t.co/AcAhGyrMon — Jessica Goad (@jessica_goad) March 12, 2018 @Merrifield_SD11 has a snack and reads comics as Dems filibuster the transportation bill. They say this is to raise policy […]

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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 19, 201815min1273
Jimmy Sengenberger was that way-older-than-his-years, way-ahead-of-the-pack kind of kid you sort of admired and sort of envied — and, admit it, sort of resented — back in middle school. He began listening to Rush on the radio at 12 and was attending Arapahoe County Republican Men’s Club breakfasts by 13. He was putting together high […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 17, 201810min567


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirDecember 15, 201710min1325

Free-market think tank Independence Institute released a study Thursday that concludes the all-renewable-energy plans of two Democratic gubernatorial contenders — former state Sen. Michael Johnston and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis — would add $45 billion to Colorado ratepayers' utility bills. Independence called Polis's and Johnston's goal of a fossil-fuel-free power generation in Colorado by 2040 a "green energy fantasy."


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William YeatmanWilliam YeatmanSeptember 25, 20177min3056

Xcel Energy recently announced that it would use Governor John Hickenlooper’s July executive order calling for climate change policy as reason to bypass the Colorado state legislature and seek regulatory approval of a “Colorado Energy Plan,” which would retire early almost 700 megawatts of coal-fired generating units to be replaced with a new natural gas plant and also renewable energy.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 17, 201711min414

Call Amy Oliver Cooke an energy feminist; call her a mother in love with fracking. Just don’t call her late for the debate. It’s something she does with gusto; for 10 years, she was a familiar presence on northern Colorado’s airwaves with her Amy Oliver Show on Greeley’s News Talk 1310 KFKA-AM radio. Today, she is Executive Vice President and Director of the Energy and Environmental Policy Center for the Denver-based Independence Institute.

From her Independence Institute bio:

… She is one of the few state-level, free market energy policy experts, and is famous for her provocative messaging like “Mothers In Love with Fracking” and “I’m an energy feminist because I’m pro-choice in energy sources,” which the eco-left called “hands down the worst kind of feminism.”

In December 2016, she was honored to be the second person named to President Trump’s Transition Team for the Environmental Protection Agency.

She has authored and contributed to numerous opinion editorials, issue papers, and issue backgrounders and has been published in the Daily Caller, Townhall, Denver Post, Pueblo Chieftain, Greeley Tribune, Denver Business Journal, Denver Daily News, Liberty Ink Journal, The Hill, and Wall Street Journal. She has appeared on Fox News, NPR, MSN.com, Devil’s Advocate, Colorado Inside Out, and Power Hour.

Cooke indulged us for a one-on-one via one of our Q&As, and she gave us her take on the proper role of government and the entrepreneurial spirit — as well as the thing she finds “predictable and boring.” Read on.

Colorado Politics: “Energy feminist” may be a tongue-in-cheek use of the term, but it raises a good question: Should the left view you as a fellow feminist even though your politics skews right? You are, after all, a very political and outspoken advocate for your views — and you are a woman.

Amy Oliver Cooke: The feminist left has been pretty clear that from their perspective, energy feminism is “the worst kind of feminism”… “hands down.” God forbid, women should have the ability to choose their own energy source. Anyway, I don’t lose sleep over it because self-described feminists don’t speak for all women any more than I do. In fact, I’m a lousy collectivist. I find the manufactured outrage over perceived slights to be predictable and boring, and the feminist left’s missing sense of humor to be unfortunate.

CP: You were on the airwaves for a decade as an award-winning talk-radio host. Why has talk radio’s popularity persisted long after its critics, notably on the left, predicted its demise? And why is it particularly popular on the right?

AOC: It’s economics. Right-of-center consumers of news didn’t feel like their perspectives were accurately reflected in the mainstream media. So, conservative news talk radio stepped in to fill the demand, and it did so in an organic way.  Conservative news talk continues to succeed because its profitable, the demand is still there, and the format continues to produce a product that people want.

CP: You were on the Trump transition team, helping navigate the president’s picks for new leadership — and a dramatic departure from business as usual — at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. How do you address push-back from environmental groups that argue the administration wants nothing less than to dismantle the agency — started in 1970 under a Republican, Richard Nixon?

AOC: Just to clarify, I don’t speak for the president or the transition team. From my perspective, President Trump’s vision of U.S. energy and environmental policy is liberating, so responding to critics has been straightforward. President Trump made it very clear that he has faith in the entrepreneurial spirit of all Americans. We can have it all — a robust economy, affordable power, responsible resource development, and a clean environment. It’s a far cry from the environmental left and the previous administration’s cynical false choice paradigm that we must choose between affordable power and clean air or a thriving economy and clean water.

CP: How would you describe your politics, and what first drew you to political and policy advocacy?

AOC: I’m a registered Republican, but I’m more of a pragmatic libertarian. I always try to defer to individual freedom.

Politics is in my DNA. Both my parents came from politically active families. My Great Aunt Marie Oliver designed and made the first Missouri flag while my Great Uncle was serving in the state legislature. But I really am my maternal grandmother’s granddaughter. She embraced public policy. She was one of the first women in Missouri appointed to serve on a grand jury. She was also the first woman to resign from a grand jury because she felt like justice had not been served. She received threats for doing so. It was a big news story. She never shied away from speaking truth to power, no matter how unpopular.

My parents taught me to enjoy politics. They threw the best election night parties, when people still went to the polls, and bars couldn’t open until after the polls closed. They would invite all their friends both Democrats and Republicans, watch returns, and debate, but at the end of the evening, they were all still friends. I remember as a teenager thinking that my parents and their friends knew how to have fun, and it involved politics.

Interestingly, both of my parents were registered Democrats their entire lives. I became a free marketer after starting a business in my late twenties, which is also when I began listening to Mike Rosen. In 1994, I finally came out of the closet as a Republican to my parents. It took some time for them to accept it, but they eventually did.

CP: You say you’re “pro-choice” on energy — that you want a mix of energy sources meeting the public’s needs and driving the U.S. economy. Critics say that mix is still too dirty; others say our continued reliance on traditional fossil fuels gives the U.S. the most affordable energy portfolio in the post-industrial world. Is there an ideal mix of energy sources, and how should it be achieved?

AOC: I don’t know the ideal mix of energy sources any more than the state legislature or two of our Democrat gubernatorial candidates who seem hell bent on an industrial wind corporate welfare program at the expense of Colorado ratepayers.  The choice of energy resources and how they are utilized should come from the demands of an innovative and free market. The role of government is to remain neutral, let markets work, let individuals innovate, limit regulations, and refrain from picking winners and losers.

CP: You are a prominent media presence; your husband, John Cooke, is a former Weld county sheriff and current state senator. By Colorado standards — like it or not — that makes you a political power couple. How did you meet?

AOC: How we met is actually a very funny story, but John tells it far better than I do. To do the story justice, it is best told in person. I encourage anyone who runs into him, to ask him how we met. He LOVES telling it because he can and does embellish. There are some state senators who can attest to that.

CP: You are a mom — one of the “Mothers in love with fracking,” in fact. Do you talk politics to your kids?

AOC: My kids are all adults now, but when they were growing up, our dinner table topics varied from politics to pop culture to sports and everything in between. I always encouraged them to be critical thinkers with the confidence to speak their minds. As a result, our conversations are interesting, lively and filled with laughter whatever the topic. And we don’t always agree!


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 17, 20175min448
Jon Anderson

The Independence Institute needs to officially drop its self-appointed role as Colorado’s conservative police because it just executed a no-knock raid on the wrong house.

The institute has a bad habit of glancing over another individual or group and decreeing whether or not it is conservative.  In a July 10 piece, Amy Cooke of the Independence Institute declares a new conservative group, The Western Way, is a “global warming opportunist.” If she had spent five minutes researching The Western Way, she would have discovered this new group is aggressively conservative.

The Western Way is an organization formed to reclaim conservative leadership on western conservation and environmental issues.  Our position is that conservatives have led the most significant conservation efforts in the western United States, yet extreme political interests have somehow created a false narrative that conservatives do not value the environment. In other words, liberals created a myth that conservatives are anti-environment and are now advancing this lie to win elections.

Think about it, liberals paint a picture of conservatives wearing Brooks Brothers suits pushing polices that contaminate land, pollute streams and develop public lands into Super Walmarts.  Now, think of actual conservatives in western states: They wear clothes from Cabelas, not Brooks Brothers; they are hunters who cherish public lands; they are fisherman who treat the streams as sacred, and they are farmers and ranchers who have acted as responsible stewards of their land for generations.  The Western Way is setting the record straight on the fact that conservatives across the west value our land. Progressive liberals’ false depiction of conservatives being anti-environment is nothing more than a political initiative, and it is working.

To fix this, conservatives need to reclaim leadership on conservation and environmental issues.  We cannot keep playing whack-a-mole with the thousands of extreme environmental groups and their constant stream of ideas that would freeze the U.S. economy.  Instead, we need to take the wheel and honestly identify the actual environmental problems facing the western U.S. and then  provide aggressive solutions to those problems that are based on conservative, free market principles. This is the high road that environmentalists hope conservatives will not take.  It reclaims conservative leadership on conservation issues by driving the most efficient and effective solution and exposes the far left for wanting to be martyrs rather than just solve the actual problem.

So what aspect of The Western Way agenda does the Independence Institute’s conservative police take issue with?  Hard to tell from the drive-by piece it ran, but it appears that the Independence Institute was offended that The Western Way took an adverse position on one piece of legislation in Colorado.

In a constructive setting, two conservative organizations like Independence Institute and The Western Way would work through these different perspectives and respect the fact that conservative groups cannot be aligned on every policy.  In fact, The Western Way has these conversations with our conservative allies all of the time and it is a healthy and productive approach to advance our shared conservative objectives.  But that is not Independence Institute’s approach. They did not even reach out to The Western Way for discussion and conveniently failed to mention how many core conservative western voters and national conservative groups support our approach and our mission.

The Western Way is pioneering an initiative embraced with equal enthusiasm by millennial conservatives as well as baby-boomer conservatives. If this approach doesn’t fit inside Independence Institute’s stodgy box, we are OK with that,  but drop the shtick of acting like Independence Institute has some power to decree who is and is not conservative in Colorado.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 12, 201720min337