Ritter: Beauprez’s words, actions conflict | AspenTimes.com

Ritter: Beauprez’s words, actions conflict

Dennis Webb
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Bill Ritter

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Ritter says his opponent’s actions on energy development do a disservice to western Colorado.

Ritter said Bob Beauprez’s comments in an interview with the Glenwood Springs Post Independent Wednesday show he is trying to have it both ways on the issues of energy and immigration.

“It was just this classic Both Ways Bob … moment,” Ritter said.

Beauprez, a Republican now serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, had said it was important to gather local input on how to mitigate the impacts of energy development in western Colorado. But Ritter, a Democrat, said Beauprez had voted in favor of a House deep ocean drilling bill that also would affect Colorado by requiring the Bureau of Land Management to act on drilling applications within 10 days, and would cut oil shale royalties going to state and local government.

“For those reasons we think it had a big impact on Western Slope interests and was adverse to the best interests of Colorado and the Western Slope,” Ritter said.

The Senate this week passed a version of the bill lacking the provisions that concerned Ritter.

He said Beauprez also voted last year in favor of the House energy bill, which would have eliminated a requirement giving governors say over oil shale development. However, a Senate version of the bill restored that requirement.

The House bill also sought to declare an environmental impact study of oil shale sufficient, even though it hadn’t been completed yet, Ritter said.

Beauprez also said Wednesday that if he’s elected, he would lead a coalition of governors in the region to pressure Congress to enact real immigration reform. Yet Ritter said Beauprez has the ability to bring about reform now as a congressman but is failing to do so.

He called Beauprez’s comments classic cases of his voting one way and saying something different later. Marc Holtzman, a part-time Carbondale-area resident whom Beauprez had defeated in the race to be the Republicans’ nominee for governor, was the first to call Beauprez “Both Ways Bob” for his supposed flip-flops on issues. Ritter has continued to make use of the nickname.

But Beauprez spokesman John Marshall said the failure of Washington to produce a new immigration law isn’t the fault of Beauprez and the House, which passed “a pretty strong” reform measure.

He also said Beauprez had cosponsored energy-related legislation for months and didn’t hear opposition to it from western Colorado. Marshall noted a supportive letter to the editor that ran in the Daily Sentinel in July and was written by Jim Evans, former director of the Rifle-based Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado and now chairman of the Oil Shale Task Force of the Club 20 Western Slope lobbying group.

Evans wrote that Beauprez “is being unfairly attacked by Democratic candidate Bill Ritter for a sellout of local governments in western Colorado.”

Evans claimed the House off-shore drilling bill’s oil shale leasing provisions would help rather than hurt western Colorado governments, resulting in a higher allocation of royalties to them.

Said Marshall, “It’s very clear to me Bill Ritter doesn’t understand the facts any more than he understands western Colorado.”