Conservation Colorado Archives - Colorado Politics
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Mark JaffeMark JaffeFebruary 18, 20187min165
The citizen councils in Colorado created to advise the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on local issues have been blocked from meeting for a year by Trump administration reviews and delays, setting off protests and resignations. The regional advisory councils, or RACs, were created by statute in 1995. There are three in Colorado—one each […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 6, 20185min2020

Anglers and environmentalists say President Trump’s plan to reshape the federal lease approval process for oil and gas is a means to muzzle their concerns.

The plan will “hand over public lands to the oil and gas industries,” according to the Wilderness Society.

The Interior Department released a memo Thursday instructing its field offices “to simplify and streamline the leasing process” for oil and gas leases with the Bureau of Land Management.

BLM will have 60 days to process a proposed lease, and the BLM offices “may” allow public participation, but it’s no longer mandatory. The window for public opposition to finalized leases is 10 days, and unresolved opposition can’t hold up a sale, according to the memo.

Trout Unlimited released a statement with a Denver dateline that accused the president and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke of “rolling back efforts to protect sensitive fish and wildlife habitat and involve local communities, sportsmen’s groups and other in federal lands planning.”

Scott Braden, the wilderness and public lands advocate for Conservation Colorado, fired off a “rapid response” email to the 36,000-plus supporters of the state’s largest environmental organization:

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will stop at nothing to bring oil and gas drilling to every corner of our public lands. This week, he has proposed to erase commonsense policies that protect our public lands from drilling, including in special places like wildlands and lands adjacent to our national parks. His proposal also cuts opportunities for public comment effectively silencing the voices of hundreds of thousands of stakeholders and individuals who value our public lands.

The fallout from this attack on our lands could be catastrophic. Zinke’s preferential treatment to his pals in the oil and gas industry will fast track the approval of permits to drill on millions of acres of public lands across the West.

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, a Republican running for governor, last year sided with the BLM over environmentalists in lease issues.

“This is a step backward in efforts to balance energy develop with sporting opportunity,” Steve Kandell, director of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project, said in a statement.

“The scrapping of master leasing plans dramatically reduces the opportunities for public involvement and shuts out the voices of local stakeholders, including sportsmen and women, in the management of their favorite places to fish and hunt.”

The move was not a complete surprise. Trump promised to roll back suck regulations, and in his State of the Union Tuesday night he reiterated what Zinke said on stage at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver last summer: The war on American energy is over.

BLM is key to the administration’s America First Energy Plan.

“Oil and gas lease sales on public land directly support domestic energy production and the President’s energy dominance and job growth priorities for America,” Deputy Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said in a statement about increased domestic production last week. “2017 was a big year for oil and gas leasing on federal lands, and these sales provide critical revenue and job growth in rural America. We will continue to work into the next year to identify and modify unnecessary regulations that impede responsible energy development.”

Added Brian Steed, BLM’s deputy director for policy and programs: “These results are hard proof that our sound energy policy is working for both public lands and Americans in terms of reliable power and job growth opportunities. Going into the new year, we remain committed to an era of American energy dominance through our multiple-use mission that ensures opportunities for commercial, recreational, and conservation activities on healthy and productive public lands.”


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Simon LomaxSimon LomaxJanuary 31, 201812min6780

Tom Steyer is back in Colorado politics. Well, actually, he never really left. Anyone who follows politics in our state should know Steyer well. He’s the environmental activist and California hedge-fund billionaire who spent more than $7 million on a failed campaign against U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R) in 2014. He poured at least $2 million more into Colorado politics in 2016, spending big on the presidential election and another failed campaign to seize control of the Colorado state legislature. 


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 19, 20184min307
A bill to restore the funding and redistribute the attention of the Colorado Energy Office cleared its first committee Thursday. That’s not surprising for a Republican bill in a Republican-led committee, but the bipartisan 9-2 vote on Senate Bill 3 means it might have a chance to rescue an imperiled agency. Last year a partisan […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 5, 20182min4620

Seasoned Colorado politico Maria Handley will lead Conservation Colorado while the search continues for ta permanent executive director, the state’s largest and highest profile environmental organization tells Colorado Politics.

Most immediately, Handley was the executive director of Generation Latino, but she’s familiar in Colorado political circles after 15 years working on campaigns, including those for former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar and for presidential candidate Howard Dean.

Pete Maysmith announced in September he was stepping down from Conservation Colorado to be the senior vice president of campaigns for the national League of Conservation Voters.

“Conservation Colorado helped achieve many important victories over the last several years, and we don’t want to lose momentum during this all-important year for Coloradans as the Trump administration attacks critical protections for our environment and public health,” said Diane Carman, who chairs the boards of Conservation Colorado and Conservation Colorado Education Fund.

The board also announced that Jace Woodrum will be the organization’s communications director, succeeding Jessica Goad, who is now Conservation Colorado’s deputy executive director

Woodrum has more than a decade in communications, working as a spokesman for the Gill Foundation and One Colorado.