DENVER — An oil and gas lobbyist didn’t mean to send an email criticizing the Senate Majority Leader, which was meant for a client, to the Majority Leader herself.
That’s what happened Friday, when lobbyist Jim Cole mistakenly attached a document he’d prepared for an oil and gas company outlining the changes to the legislature and goals for the upcoming session to every state lawmaker at the Capitol.
As first reported by the Denver Post, Cole’s email drew the ire of Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll, who was described by Cole as “an anti-oil and gas populist.
“She has aspirations of being attorney general and possibly governor and is using the anti-fracturing sentiment to get her wider exposure to the media,” he wrote.
While Carroll called the email “stupid”, she is widely viewed as a strong environmentalist and someone with an eye on higher office who may run to replace Attorney General John Suthers in 2014, when the Republican is term-limited out of office.
The email also made clear what is also widely understood at the Capitol — that the oil and gas industry views Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, as an ally.
“His relationship to the oil & gas industry is strong and he has been a national leader speaking out against the anti-fracturing forces that have invaded Colorado,” Coles wrote about Hickenlooper.
“His administration has sued one Local Government over the issue and will likely join an industry lawsuit over a referendum that banned hydraulic fracturing in that same community. His appointments to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission have been fair and they are holding the industry to high standards but do have the zeal to punish the industry as was the case under Gov. Ritter.”
Environmentalists were less than pleased.
“This memo exposes one of the worst-kept secrets in Colorado — the governor is a fast friend of the oil and gas industry,” said Gary Wockner with Clean Water Action. “The governor likes to say both sides of the debate hate him so he’s in the right place.
“But in reality the oil and gas industry knows they have a close ally in the governor.”