Editorial: A fair and honest approach | CraigDailyPress.com

Editorial: A fair and honest approach

Maybe there's hope yet for Northwest Colorado, its energy industry and economy.

That was the Editorial Board's reaction after learning of first-year Gov. John Hickenlooper's appointments in late July to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The governor's comments about energy during a Hayden appearance the same day the appointments were announced also fostered optimism, board members contend.

The Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is tasked with promoting responsible development of the state's oil and gas resources by balancing exploration and production with public health and environment protections.

In politics, party affiliations often shape how goals such as the commission's are achieved, and rare are bi-partisan efforts in producing reasonable outcomes.

The governor, a Democrat, could have front loaded his appointments with people from the same party, but instead he put forward four Democrats and two Republicans, which would put the overall commission at five Democrats and four from the GOP.

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That, the Editorial Board contends, signals the governor's intention to strike a balance in his administration, a trait sorely missing from former Gov. Bill Ritter's years in office.

However, not all was kosher with the appointments. There was a noticeable lack of Western Slope representation from the governor's choices, and the Editorial Board hopes he will avoid such disparities in the future.

The new governor may also be quite different from the Ritter administration in his views and actions on coal.

Hickenlooper was asked of his stance on coal during the Hayden appearance. He said he was in favor of all forms of energy, including coal because it's the "simple, most obvious solution to our energy needs."

But, he tempered those words by emphasizing the need for cleaner burning coal to offset environmental concerns.

Hickenlooper could have pandered to the crowd during the Hayden visit, selling them on his support, and simply backtracked later from the cozy confines of the state capitol. He could have, but he didn't.

That he spoke honestly about his views, leaving little room for misunderstanding, says to the public they have a state leader who will stick to his beliefs and principles, even when the message isn't exactly what they want to hear.

Time will tell whether Hickenlooper's administration was friendly or hostile to the energy industry so vital to our local community.

But, based on what we've seen and heard so far from the governor, there's reason to be optimistic our industries will get a fair shake in Denver, which would be a refreshing change from the previous four years.

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Our View

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s stance on energy development seems to be more favorable than his predecessor’s, which is good news for Craig and Moffat County’s energy-based economy. But, how much more favorable is this governor? Only time and his actions can answer that question.