Columnists, Featured, Governor Polis, Jon Caldara, Uncategorized

Caldara: Looming gas price hike entirely Jared Polis’ doing

(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here).

The Hayman fire in 2002 was one of the worst in Colorado’s history. What’s more appalling is it was started by one person whose responsibility it was to make sure forest fires don’t happen in the first place.

That’s what is going on today with the one person who should have prevented our gasoline prices from spiking $0.50 to $1 per gallon, but instead made it happen.

In that remarkably dry year of 2002, there was a burn ban in the area northwest of Colorado Springs. A park ranger with the U.S. Forest Service, Terry Barton, a forestry technician, set a piece of paper on fire in an area she knew was prone to ignite.

Why? Some say it was so she could put out the fire and look like a hero, in court she claimed she was burning a letter from her estranged husband. This one person, wanting to look like a hero, lit one piece of paper and torched more than 138,000 acres across four counties, killing six people and landing her a 6-year sentence in the federal pen.

From the Declaration of Independence to a letter burned in the forest, the power of one page is tremendous.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tells us Colorado has an ozone problem and we are out of compliance with their standards. Therefore, gasoline in the Denver metro area will need to be reformulated to their liking, adding between $0.50 to $1 per gallon as penance.

Since society is drunk on the word “injustice,” it’s important to note Coloradans bear very little responsibility for this problem, yet are being punished. The bad air quality comes from California and often from China and blows into our high altitude, knocking us out of EPA compliance. So where are the social justice warriors on this one?

Back to the power of one piece of paper. Due to this injustice, the governor signs a letter to the EPA requesting a waiver from this impossible standard. They always rubber stamp it and our gas prices don’t skyrocket.

Acting as a responsible park ranger, former Gov. John Hickenlooper did just that, saving us from inflaming fuel prices.

Then came the Terry Barton of governors.

Gov. Jared Polis, as the new governor, sent out another piece of paper to the EPA rescinding his predecessor’s request for a waiver.

Polis didn’t regret his decision. On X (formerly Twitter) he crowed, “We helped get the EPA to downgrade Colorado because of ozone levels.” He told Colorado Public Radio, “The EPA downgrade is good news.”

As I wrote in a column a few years ago, “Mr. Polis, will be the first governor not to ask for the waiver. The likely result is the EPA will require Coloradans to use a boutique mixture of fuel that will have to be created especially for us at a cost of up to a dollar more a gallon.”

But reinventing his history is an art Polis has mastered. He is now standing up to the EPA, demanding it gives us the waiver he canceled a few years back, and acting like he’s always been fighting for it.


At a meeting with the Gazette Editorial Board, Polis seemed to forget how he was proud of his sole decision on the EPA waiver saying, “Oh, they’re (the EPA) awful. Just awful. Awful, awful, awful … We’re fighting them on many fronts, but particularly now — and I say this with several exclamation points — on this insane requirement for this reformulated gas!!!”

Polis went on, “Everybody’s going to drive a few extra miles, which makes our air even worse and will add to traffic because it may be 40 (cents) to 50 cents cheaper — worth driving that extra couple of miles for. A supply crisis is likely.”

He knew there’d be a supply crisis, yet he rescinded the EPA waiver anyway?! That is political malfeasance.

He’s hoping you forget he started this colossal economic forest fire. Realizing the political and economic fallout of his bad decision, he now wants to look like the hero trying to stop it.

We all should demand that instead of rewriting his past he man-up instead and say the following: “I personally made a terrible mistake. It cost my constituents greatly. I was wrong and I am working to fix the problem I and I alone created. I am sorry.”

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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