Colorado Groups Demand Access To Gov. Hickenlooper's Secret Fracking Meetings
Citizen groups in Colorado asked Gov. John Hickenlooper a pertinent question Wednesday—what's the big secret?
Eleven groups formally requested entry into a series of ongoing meetings between the governor and oil and gas executives about a potential, special legislative session regarding fracking. Colorado publications like the Denver Post say Hickenlooper has been trying to compromise with industry types to get more local control over fracking. Citizen groups find it troubling that they have no say in the matter since they have already moved moratoriums and bans forward in six cities with more than 400,000 citizens in the past 18 months.
"Apparently, it is now simply business as usual to shut out the voice of the people when making decisions that effect us all," said Sharon J. Carlisle, president of Protect our Loveland. "We demand our rightful place in your smoke-filled, oil- and gas-filled rooms of secret wheelings and dealings."
Carlisle's organization represents Loveland, CO, which will have a special election on June 24 regarding a moratorium on fracking. At the state level, the governor is trying to appease the industry and environmental advocates in time to keep initiatives off the November ballot that would increase drilling. Food and Water Watch, Frack Free Colorado and others are demanding an opportunity to impact a potential compromise the same way they impacted local bans and moratoriums.
The groups believe that Hickenlooper's recent meetings may violate the Colorado Sunshine Law, which requires public notice of meetings and public access to them.
"I'm appalled that the governor is working behind the backs of the citizen groups that worked with the populations of our affected communities to pass moratoria or bans," said Laura Fronckiewicz, founding member of Our Broomfield. "When will he stop trying to subvert the democratic process and truly listen to us?"
The consortium says none of the groups were invited to the meetings or had any prior knowledge that they were going on.
Be the Change, 350 Colorado, Our Longmont, Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins, What the Frack? Arapahoe, the Garfield Transparency Project and the Mothers Project are the other groups who want public access to Hickenlooper's meetings.
"You have not represented the people for a long time, governor," Carlisle wrote in her statement. "We will represent ourselves.
"Open the door—we will no longer wait in the hall."
Hickenlooper has had a confounding relationship with both the fracking industry and those who oppose it. In July 2013, he approved the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's entering into a lawsuit with the City of Longmont in an attempt to overturn its fracking ban. Later that month, he admitted fracking was a process that "no one wants in their backyard."
In February, Local Control Colorado announced it was trying to get signatures to get language on the ballot that would allow communities to control whether fracking goes on in their communities.
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theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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