Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a longtime fracking proponent, confirmed Wednesday he met with presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton about possibly becoming her running mate.
“If you look at the challenges that this country and the world faces right now, if you’re someone who’s asked, that you’re one of the people that can really make a difference and your country needs you, of course you take it seriously,” Hickenlooper told Bloomberg TV.
The governor did not elaborate on the nature of the conversation, except to say they spent “most of the time” discussing topics such as how to transition workers from areas with poor job prospects to thriving industries. Clinton is expected to announce her running mate shortly after the July 25 Democratic National Convention.
Hickenlooper, for his part, has been quite open about his support of fracking, even as Colorado’s environmentalists and greens badger him about his views on natural gas, as well as his generally negative opinion of regulations hampering fracking.
He said in an April talk in Denver that the Environmental Protection Agency should halt its new overarching regulations on ozone levels.
“So, I think it would be a great idea if they suspended the standard,” the governor said at the time. “I mean, just with the background [ozone emissions], if you’re not going to be able to conform to a standard like this, you are leaving the risk or the possibility that there will be penalties of one sort or another that come from your lack of compliance.”
Meanwhile, Clinton’s view on natural gas continues to evolve. She was mostly in favor of fracking in 2010. She told reporters at the time that “natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation today, and a number of countries in the Americas may have shale gas resources. If developed, shale gas could make an important contribution to our region’s energy supply, just as it does now for the United States.”
She has since changed her tune. The former secretary of state promised in 2015 she would begin phasing out fossil fuels development on public lands if elected president.
Colorado, a swing state, more than quadrupled its oil production from 2004 to 2014. During that 10-year stretch, the state’s natural gas output spiked by 51 percent, according to data compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The state also generates more than 60 percent of its electricity from coal, 22 percent from natural gas, and 18 percent from renewable energy. A very small amount – less than 10 percent – is generated from renewable resources.
Colorado, once a coal-producing powerhouse, has fallen on hard times in recent years. The Centennial State’s coal production slipped to a 20-year low in 2014, according to state data. The state’s eight mines produced less than 23 million tons of coal in 2014, a 5 percent drop from the previous year.
Neither the Clinton campaign nor Hickenlooper’s officer were available for comment in time for this article.
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