Senator disappoints constituent

By Brian Wegner

Dear Editor:

As a retired naval officer who views active citizenship as a key value of democracy, I wrote to Senator Cory Gardner voicing my opposition to using Congressional Review Authority (CRA) to reverse the BLM methane capture regulation put in place during the Obama administration. My arguments supporting opposition included that wasting natural resources by flaring methane for the sole purpose of accelerating the start of production to satisfy the industry's "I want it now" rush for cash did not line up with conservative values, unnecessarily pollutes and deprives the nation of royalties on lost natural gas resources on publicly-owned (BLM and national Forest Service) lands. Further, I questioned the wisdom of needlessly accelerating production when the U.S. market is already over-supplied with natural gas, depressing prices, limiting new exploration and development and leading to efforts backing liquified natural gas (LNG) exports to increase demand (which will result in higher prices at home and lower prices for foreign competitors).

I received a response from Senator Gardner's office just prior to the May 10 Senate vote. The response shocked me. It never referred to the BLM methane capture issue. All it said was that Senator Gardner supported an all-of-above energy policy blah blah blah and that he supported renewable energy and appropriate environmental protections blah blah blah and thank you for expressing your concerns. It was as if no one had even read the letter!

I was happy to see the Senate failed in its attempt to overturn the BLM methane capture rule by a vote of 49 for to 51 against. I was not happy that Senator Gardner voted for reversing the rule, despite not only my letter but also some polls that showed up to 80 percent of Coloradans supported the rule. Why would a "conservative" GOP senator vote to waste natural resources, forego federal revenue on lost forever natural gas production, and choose against being a good steward of the earth? Did he even hear or listen to what any of his constituents were saying? Perhaps if his reply to my letter addressed the issue I raised, I might be able to accept his vote. But apparently I was just wasting my time! I can only assume he heard -- loud and clear -- the energy industry and its lobbyists, and the sound of cash in his campaign coffers. Is it any wonder that many Americans have lost trust in our core democratic institutions?

Brian Wegner