President Joe Biden is here in Colorado to fundraise for his reelection campaign and promote his administration’s energy agenda, but there are lingering questions about whether this trip has more to do with 2024 electoral politics than lowering emissions.
Here are the key questions Biden ought to answer when it comes to the administration’s energy agenda and ongoing effort to constrain production and increase energy costs for Coloradans.
Is the Biden admin holding up Western Colorado energy leases because of 2024 politics?
This week it was announced over the next two weeks the Biden administration will “auction off 63 drilling parcels across six Western states,” none of which are located in the energy-rich areas of Colorado’s third Congressional district.
Regular federal lease sales are required by federal law, yet new Colorado energy leasing remains mired in bureaucracy at the hands of the Bureau of Land Management.
In response to several “sue and settle” lawsuits from environmental groups attempting to stop production on federal lands, BLM released Resource Management Plans in August that would lock up more than 1.5 million acres in Western Colorado from future development.
Proposed amendments to the Resource Management Plans in question rely on outdated data, as the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial board wrote earlier this month:
“The problem is that the BLM relied heavily on 2002 U.S. Geological Survey data instead of a recent 2016 survey that more accurately reflects resource potential based on technological advancements in the industry.”
Additionally, the agency’s economic impact statement acknowledged these proposed restrictions would cost more than 6,500 jobs and millions in lost labor income over the next two decades.
Moreover, experts argue BLM’s reliance on outdated data in the RMPs is unlawful, further creating the appearance the administration’s ongoing Western Colorado leasing blockade is politically motivated.
Which brings us to the next question on the minds of Coloradans, diplomats, and activists across the world:
Why is Biden in Pueblo instead of traveling to COP28?
The world is gathering in Dubai at the annual COP28 climate summit beginning this Thursday, but President Biden is nowhere to be found for the first time in his presidency. Instead of traveling to the UAE to meet with world leaders to discuss cutting emissions, the President will be playing politics in Pueblo, Greenwire reports:
“The president is scheduled to travel to Pueblo, Colorado, on Wednesday to tour a CS Wind plant that manufactures turbines, where he plans to promote his administration’s investments in renewable energy.
“He also plans to criticize the local congressperson, Rep. Lauren Boebert.”
Biden’s decision to focus on domestic politics at the expense of emissions reduction talks at COP28 has generated criticism across the political spectrum, including from environmentalists:
“Climate activists criticized the president over the reported decision Monday.
“‘This is President Biden missing another opportunity to be a leader on climate change,’ said Stevie O’Hanlon, a spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement.”
CNN suggested it is possible the President could participate in COP28 “virtually,” while Axios wrote that Biden could make an appearance at the conference, but only after other world leaders have departed next week.
Bottom Line: President Biden’s trip to Pueblo has far more to do with politics than reducing emissions or responsibly producing the energy Coloradans need. Leveraging this visit to snub COP28 is a disingenuous gambit that only reinforces the notion this administration is more interested in eliminating politically disfavored energy sources than tangible and responsible plans to reduce emissions.
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