Gov. Bill Ritter stepped off a helicopter and into hot water July 3, when, after an aerial tour of Northwestern Colorado with Sen. Ken Salazar, he declared that the Vermillion Basin should be off limits to oil and gas drilling. His opposition apparently came in an epiphany. “The governor in a moment of spontaneity asked the pilot to land on the Vermillion,” Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer told the media. “He felt it would be important to stand on the Vermillion with the senator (Salazar) to get a sense of the place.”
In all this communing with nature, Ritter evidently forgot to consult with local elected officials, who worked for years to draw up a leasing plan they are happy with and who say a drilling ban will cost their citizens millions of dollars in tax and royalty revenues. They weren’t pleased...
Commissioners pointed out that energy development in the basin is something they welcome. But suddenly, after years of consultations and public process, Ritter is attempting to monkey-wrench the arrangement. That’s becoming a pattern with this governor. He’s also attempting to derail oil and gas leases on top of the Roan Plateau, another suddenly sacrosanct area for anti-drilling extremists, and is in the process of packing the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission with people who are indifferent or hostile to the industry.
The Gazette appears to be giving Mark Udall a free ride after twice calling him or his environmentalist policies "extremist." They could easily mention, but didn't, that Udall is a very active Ken Salazar / Bill Ritter ally in this war on the Colorado economy. He has tried to restrict public access to roads on federal property and he has tried to deep six drilling on the Roan.
The editorial is really good from beginning to end. We had a hard time cherry picking items to quote. We suggest you read the whole thing.