Daily Sentinel again omitted Beauprez's support for controversial oil and gas drilling lease auction

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

An article in the Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction about "[t]he fight to protect the Roan Plateau and Colorado's roadless areas from energy development" neglected to report that Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez supported a controversial sale of oil and gas drilling leases in Colorado's roadless forest areas, despite quoting Beauprez's campaign manager as saying that the campaign "very much subscribes to" a "conservation ethic."

An August 20 article in the Daily Sentinel of Grand Junction by reporter Bobby Magill about "[t]he fight to protect the Roan Plateau and Colorado's roadless areas from energy development" neglected to report that gubernatorial candidate Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-Arvada) reportedly supported a controversial sale of oil and gas drilling leases in Colorado's roadless forest areas, despite noting comments by Beauprez campaign manager John Marshall that the Beauprez campaign "very much subscribes to" a "conservation ethic."

As the Daily Sentinel article noted, "More than 3,000 acres of natural gas leases within roadless land in the White River National Forest near the Mamm Peaks went on the auction block Aug. 10." Yet, for a second time, the Daily Sentinel did not note that Beauprez reportedly supported the controversial auction.

According to the article, new groups of supporters for the protection of roadless lands include "the 'hook and bullet' crowd -- hunters, anglers, outfitters and other sportsmen" -- in addition to "environmentalists and traditional wilderness advocates." The article noted, "Alliances among groups who once considered themselves at odds with popular environmentalism are occurring throughout the West, and they're being noticed by politicians, chief among whom are Colorado's gubernatorial candidates."

The article reported that Ritter's campaign spokesman, Evan Dreyer said, "I think there is an agreement that they can be more effective by coming together and finding that middle ground."

The Daily Sentinel also reported that Beauprez campaign manager John Marshall said, as paraphrased by the Daily Sentinel, "Conservationists comprise a large part of the state's electorate, and the next governor must be attuned to their issues." The Daily Sentinel also quoted Marshall as stating, "That conservation ethic is something this campaign very much subscribes to."

In fact, as reported by the Associated Press, Beauprez supported the August 10 oil and gas drilling lease auction. The AP reported August 9 that "[b]oth gubernatorial candidates have weighed in, with Democrat Bill Ritter adding his request that the leases be put on hold until the task force and Gov. Bill Owens decide what to do, and Republican Bob Beauprez saying the process should move forward."

As Colorado Media Matters noted, the Daily Sentinel previously has neglected to report Beauprez's support of the August 10 drilling lease auction.

From the August 20 Daily Sentinel article by Bobby Magill:

The fight to protect the Roan Plateau and Colorado's roadless areas from energy development has strayed beyond the realm of environmentalists and traditional wilderness advocates.

The "hook and bullet" crowd -- hunters, anglers, outfitters and other sportsmen -- are now claiming wildland protection as their territory, a development that's being noticed by the energy industry and politicians all over Colorado and the West.

The fate of the Roan Plateau and roadless areas on Battlement Mesa is a personal issue for outfitters such as lifelong Republican Jeff Mead, owner of Rifle-based Mamm Peaks Outfitters. Since gas rigs began drilling near Mead's hunting grounds, he said he's lost nearly $70,000 in business because gas development is driving away Battlement Mesa's big game.

More than 3,000 acres of natural gas leases within roadless land in the White River National Forest near the Mamm Peaks went on the auction block Aug. 10.

[...]

Mead and other sportsmen have teamed up with environmental groups such as the Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop and the Colorado Mountain Club to protect the state's roadless areas from development.

Elsewhere, sportsmen are joining forces with the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club.

"Most of the sportsmen's groups are pretty conservative, and you don't normally find them leading campaigns like this," said Bob Elderkin, former Bureau of Land Management employee, hunter and advocate of Roan Plateau protection.

[...]

Natural gas development on Battlement Mesa, which will ultimately determine the viability of his outfitting business, is the fly in his Republican ointment.

"The way it's looking right now, the head of the Republican Party is not doing so good as far as I'm concerned," he said, referring to President George W. Bush. Mead said Bush's attitude toward wilderness protection doesn't square with his personal conservation ethic.

That's what inspired Mead to show up at the June 21 Roadless Area Review Task Force meeting in Glenwood Springs and, while sitting next to Wilderness Workshop Executive Director Sloan Shoemaker, vehemently ask the task force to recommend to Gov. Bill Owens that all of the state's roadless areas be protected from development.

[...]

Alliances among groups who once considered themselves at odds with popular environmentalism are occurring throughout the West, and they're being noticed by politicians, chief among whom are Colorado's gubernatorial candidates.

"It feels like a natural alliance, a coming-together of common interests to fight forces that are threatening our outdoors," said Evan Dreyer, spokesman for Democrat Bill Ritter's gubernatorial campaign. "I think that for a very long time, this was something that was fought on the fringes, the environmentalists on the far left and the hunters' groups on the far right. I think there is an agreement that they can be more effective by coming together and finding that middle ground."

Conservationists comprise a large part of the state's electorate, and the next governor must be attuned to their issues, said John Marshall, campaign manager for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez.

"That conservation ethic is something this campaign very much subscribes to," he said.

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