WATCHING GOVERNMENT THE EDITOR’S PERSPECTIVE
implodes as climate
elites save planet
by Bob Tippee, Editor
Coincidence underscores lessons too easily
overlooked in the Nov. 19 collapse of govern-ment-forming discussions in Germany.
While insurgent populism hampered efforts
in Berlin to assemble a governing coalition,
More than timing connects these develop-
Ultraright populists upset German politics in
elections Sept. 24 when the Alternative for Germany Party won 92 of 709 seats in Bundestag,
That put the Alternatives importantly in third
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian
Democratic Union and Bavarian partner Christian Social Union led with 246 seats but lost
ground. And the Social Democratic Party, with
which the CDU/CSU had been in coalition, suffered its worst showing in years and bolted into
opposition. It won 153 seats.
Merkel tried to form a coalition with the
free-market Free Democratic Party and environmentalist Green Party.
After 4 weeks, the Free Democrats withdrew, leaving Merkel to drop hints about an
early election. That option is subject to approval by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier,
who wants coalition discussions to resume.
The Social Democrats theoretically could reenter the coalition with the CDU/CSU but seem
unlikely to do so with Merkel still in charge.
And reformation of the “grand coalition” would
leave the first ultraright group since World War
II to hold seats in the Bundestag as the dominant opposition party.
Dissatisfaction with Merkel’s liberality
on immigration explains some of Germany’s
But right behind that issue on a ranking of
arguments in the coalition talks, international
broadcaster Deutsche Welle places climate
Thanks to generous support for renewable
energy and the shut-down of nuclear plants,
Germans pay the second-highest rates in Europe for electricity.
So it’s partly because Greens want to shut
coal-fired plants while Free Democrats want to
prevent further energy hardship that the once
indominable Merkel cannot form a government.
It’s a political crisis grounded in the practical concerns of everyday Germans, culminating
as the rich and powerful yet again saved Planet
(From the subscription area of www.ogj.com,
posted Nov. 22, 2017; author’s e-mail: bobt@
Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) adopted stronger air
quality requirements for the Denver
Metro/North Front Range Ozone
Non-Attainment Area on Nov. 16
by approving several revisions to its
regulations of emissions from oil and
Government and industry association officials there have highlighted
the cooperation that has taken place
for years as such regulations have
been developed there and in the
Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation
Commission. The latest AQCC revisions apparently were helped along
because representatives from the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA)
and the Environmental Defense Fund
(EDF) actually worked together.
Changes included more frequent
inspections for certain facilities under
the Leak Detection and Repair Program, a new inspection program for
pneumatic controllers, and a mutual
commitment to further evaluate and
analyze potential areas for cost-effective reductions in hydrocarbon
emissions, the groups said in a joint
“We worked extremely hard with
EDF to reach agreement on core
aspects of the Colorado Department
of Public Health & Environment’s proposal. This agreement highlights how
far we in the oil and gas industry, and
others in the environmental community, have come in working together for
achievable air quality improvements,”
COGA Pres. Dan Haley said.
“Because of this engagement,
and because our industry constantly
strives to improve its environment and
air quality performance, Colorado has
the most technologically advanced,
strictly regulated, and well-controlled
oil and natural gas operations
anywhere in the country, and we con-
tinue to get better. We are very proud
of that fact,” Haley said.
“State regulators, industry, and the
environmental community in Colorado
have once again demonstrated that
we are capable of putting politics
aside to achieve important progress in
reducing emissions from the oil and
gas sector,” noted Dan Grossman,
national director of state programs for
EDF’s oil and gas sector.
“There is still more work to do but
approaching policy initiatives in this
manner benefits Coloradans and can
help solve some of our nation’s most
pressing environmental issues if this
happens more often,” Grossman said.
Working for protections
Another Colorado petroleum group’s
leader said the industry continues to
focus on its commitment to responsibly develop energy resources in a
manner consistent with protecting
the environment, public health, and
“Colorado is among the leading producers of oil and gas in the
country and has a well-established
process for including all scientific,
energy, health, and environmental
experts—key elements of successful
rulemaking,” declared Tracee Bentley,
executive director of the Colorado
Petroleum Council, which is part of
the American Petroleum Institute.
“We applaud the division’s staff for
their commitment to this process and
affirming our shared goal of decreasing emissions,” Bentley said.
Colorado cooperation continues