State Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley) should be removed from office for supporting new oil and gas regulations that will “devastate the oil and gas industry” and “kill oil and gas jobs,” say leaders of an effort to recall the newly elected representative.
Yet top producers in Weld County say the new law won’t have any substantial impact on their industry.
And when it comes to the Galindo recall specifically, the state’s second-largest producer says it’s not interested.
“Noble Energy does not participate in recall elections,” said Brian Miller, spokesperson for Noble Energy in an email. “Our contribution to Values First Colorado was related to the 2018 election cycle.”
Noble Energy is the second donor to Values First Colorado (VCF) to state publicly that its 2018 contribution was intended for the general election and not for any recall effort. Xcel Energy made the same statement to the Colorado Times Recorder back in March.
The Colorado Oil & Gas Association, an industry group, also stated that it doesn’t support the current recall campaigns.
Values First Colorado (VFC), the House Republicans’ “caucus fund” run by Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock and his brother Joe is the best-funded and most experienced group supporting the recalls. The group has spent thousands on Facebook ads and a website promoting the Galindo recall.
Another entity, the “Committee to Recall Rochelle Galindo” has also built a website and has a Facebook presence, but its audience is approximately one-tenth the size of the VFC-funded page. It has raised just over $100,000 (less than a quarter of the funds available to VFC) and declared spending a total of only $155 so far. Its next report is due on May 9.
VFC spent only three quarters of the money it raised for the 2016-18 election cycle funds by Election Day. In its most recent campaign finance report it reported spending just under $63,000 from December of last year through March.
According to Joe Neville, who runs Values First Colorado, his group coordinated with local activists to launch the Galindo recall. He explained the process to host Jimmy Lakey on his April 3 radio show:
“We’re just there to help support them and get them the resources they need, to help them with getting ballot signatures and get this on the ballot – get the recalls on the ballot… There are several different stakeholders. I mean, this was such a polarizing effort that several people had started entering petitions.
So we had to put – you know, pause it, bring everybody to the table, try to figure out what petition we’re going to move forward, because the last thing we want is multiple petitions out there, splitting up the effort. We’ve come to that conclusion, I believe. And within the next few days we should have a final one turned in and approved. And so I’m guessing within the week, here, is when things should start moving forward. And we’ll definitely be reaching out to everybody that signs up at recallcolorado.com and telling them where to go.”Joe Neville on The Lakey Effect radio show, “Joe Neville Talks Recalls,” April 3, 2019
The Colorado Secretary of State approved a Galindo recall petition form the day after this interview.
Recall proponents’ claims that that the recall campaigns are necessary because of SB181’s threat to the extraction industry is flatly contradicted by statements from the companies with the most to lose.
Representatives from Colorado’s top four oil and gas companies told the Greeley Tribune’s Bobby Fernandez that the new safety regulations required by SB181 would not have a substantial impact on their plans for working in the region. Their statements to the Tribune were decidedly optimistic:
PDC: “We plan to invest around half a billion dollars in Weld County in 2019, with a similar level of activity expected in 2020.”
Noble Energy: “We will continue working closely with Weld County on the required local permits and agreements, and we do not foresee any substantive changes to this development plan… we expect that this new law will provide more regulatory stability and what communities sought in protection of health, safety and the environment — thereby eliminating justification for partisan or extreme anti-oil and gas ballot measures in the future.”
Extraction Oil & Gas: “For now, nothing has changed in the way we look at Colorado and our long-term business plan, and as an industry leader, we feel very well positioned to continue our award-winning work with local governments in this new regulatory environment.”
Anadarko: “We remain confident in the long-term value of our acreage position and believe that we have sufficient inventory of approved permits and drilled, uncompleted wells to maintain our planned activity into 2020. During this time, we will continue to rely on our proven partnerships with local communities…”Greeley Tribune, “As new oil and gas regulations take form, top producers pledge continued investment in Greeley, Weld County,” May 5, 2019
Jason Salzman contributed to this report.