Largest Colorado green group won’t endorse Boulder climate lawsuit

Matt Dempsey writes:

The Denver Post nicely picks up on previous Western Wire reporting on Steyer’s involvement in Colorado legislative races and Dem Gov candidate not endorsing climate lawsuit.

Perhaps the most surprising tidbit of info Conservation Colorado not endorsing Boulder climate lawsuit either.

Key excerpts here:

  • The four Democratic candidates for governor support neither the climate lawsuit nor Initiative 97, which increases drilling operations’ minimum distance from occupied buildings from the current 500 feet to 2,500 feet. The state’s leading environmental group, Conservation Colorado, also is not endorsing either effort, but its leaders downplay the lack of unity on the issues.
  • And he said he “loves” a lawsuit brought by Colorado communities against energy companies seeking damages for climate change, but he is not bankrolling the effort.

Why Colorado’s environmental battles aren’t the focus of the nation’s top Democratic donor in the 2018 election

The billionaire environmentalist says he will pass on ballot measure and governor’s race, but work to elect Democratic state Senate

John Frank May 28, 2018 at 6:00 am

He argued for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. He blasted the national Democratic Party’s electoral strategy. And he outlined his political network’s focus for the 2018 election.

But what Tom Steyer didn’t highlight in a recent trip to Denver is the most telling.

Steyer is dumping at least $10 million into a national advertising campaign calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

He argued for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. He blasted the national Democratic Party’s electoral strategy. And he outlined his political network’s focus for the 2018 election.

But what Tom Steyer didn’t highlight in a recent trip to Denver is the most telling.

The billionaire climate activist is not focused on Colorado at this point — despite his big-spending history in state elections and the major environmental issues in this year’s campaign.

“I said at the beginning of this year: We are going to get asked to do a thousand things, literally. Should we do them all? Absolutely. If we do them all, are we going to suck at them all? Yes,” he said in a recent interview with The Denver Post at a downtown hotel. “So what we are really going to have to do is prioritize the most important things.”

The priority, Steyer said, is to help Democrats win control of the U.S House, and that’s where he’s directing resources through NextGen America and affiliated political organizations.

“We have to get control of something,” said Steyer, whose $16 million investment in the 2018 election makes him the nation’s top Democratic donor, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Colorado’s open governor’s race is barely on his radar. He considered a potential state ballot measure to limit oil and gas drilling, but he decided to pass. And he said he “loves” a lawsuit brought by Colorado communitiesagainst energy companies seeking damages for climate change, but he is not bankrolling the effort.

His lack of interest provides an opening for energy industry advocates and Republicans, and it showcases the fracture in Colorado’s environmental movement.

The four Democratic candidates for governor support neither the climate lawsuit nor Initiative 97, which increases drilling operations’ minimum distance from occupied buildings from the current 500 feet to 2,500 feet.

The state’s leading environmental group, Conservation Colorado, also is not endorsing either effort, but its leaders downplay the lack of unity on the issues.

“I don’t think it indicates anything at the moment,” said Jessica Goad, the organization’s deputy director. “If anything, it indicates that there may be different priorities that the different conservation groups have — certainly we are not a monolith.”

Steyer plans to help Democrats in state legislative races

Where Steyer does intend to help Democrats in Colorado is the battle for control of the state Senate, where Republicans hold a one-seat margin.

NextGen America is collaborating with the League of Conservation Voters — a prominent environmental advocacy organization — to raise money for three state representatives seeking re-election (Jeff Bridges, Tony Exum and Barbara McLachlan) and two state Senate candidates (Faith Winter and Tammy Story). The groups have marked Exum’s seat in Colorado Springs and the two Denver-area state Senate seats being sought by Winter and Story as national “priority” races.

Steyer donated $400 to each, the maximum under state law, and he hopes to bundle much more from donors across the nation through the “Give Green” campaign. He credited a similar effort in 2016 with raising more than $70,000 for Colorado legislative candidates, but it’s not a direct big-dollar investment.

The collaboration also is raising money for Joe Neguse, a Boulder Democrat running for Congress in a contested party primary.

Elsewhere, Steyer’s organization is working with two other organizations on a $1.5 million effort that is seeking to register high school students to vote ahead of the midterm elections.

Colorado is one of 10 states in the campaign, which is focused on promoting tougher gun regulations. But it’s not clear whether the campaign will target U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, an Aurora Republican who sits in one of the nation’s most contested congressional seats.

Steyer spent big in prior two elections

Steyer’s two efforts in the state represent less engagement compared with the California hedge fund owner’s prominent role in the prior two election cycles.

In 2014, NextGen Climate Action Committee spent more than $9 million to help re-elect Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall. In 2016, the group spent $2.3 million in the state as part of an attempt to flip the state Senate to Democratic control. Both were unsuccessful.

But Dempsey and other energy industry advocates suggest Steyer is still poised to make a significant impact on Colorado politics this year.

The critics point to a handful of national environmental organizations that Steyer has supported, such as Sierra Club and 350, both of which continue to work against oil and gas operations in Colorado. The Sierra Club has endorsed Initiative 97, the effort to increase drilling setbacks.

“He may have learned his lesson from 2014 and 2016 to not be the face of it,” said Simon Lomax, a researcher at Vital for Colorado, a business group that backs the state’s energy industry. “But the groups that he funds are as involved as they have ever been in Colorado politics.”

Full story:

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/05/28/tom-steyer-colorado-2018-election/

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4 thoughts on “Largest Colorado green group won’t endorse Boulder climate lawsuit

  1. Despite what right wing skeptics appear to believe, global warming isn’t primarily about environmental idealism or wealth distribution, it’s about money. Firstly from cap and trade and secondly the switch from coal to gas. Obama’s war on coal as Trump rightly observed.

    • It’s actually about both to two different groups. An change creates opportunity which some business/entrepreneurs will try to exploit but the need the left to create the moral narrative around it. For the left it’s about the enviroment and social justice and they need money and influence, so you get the strange bed fellows.

  2. Hey Mods I’m getting this security certificate invalid message again. And I’m having to re-register again???

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