Letter to Gov. Hickenlooper calls for better balance between energy development and resource protection
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Colorado’s brewers — including two Summit County based operations — are flexing a little political muscle and calling on Gov. John Hickenlooper to strike a better balance between energy development and conservation.
Rick Tork, manager of Frisco’s Backcountry Brewery, and Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse and Brewery owner Annie Holton, signed on to represent Summit County.
In a letter to Hickenlooper, the brewers, 26 in all, cited the importance of Colorado’s image and marketability for craft brewing and the important economic impact of keeping Colorado’s skies and waters clear and clean, saying that the state’s brand and high quality of life “attracts new residents, businesses, entrepreneurs and millions of tourists annually.”
A spokesman at the governor’s office said Hickenlooper recognizes the value of the craft-brewing industry.
“The craft brewing industry is a great economic driver for Colorado and we value our relationship with brewers across the state. We will review the letter and respond appropriately,” said communications director Eric Brown.
While there are no plans for drilling in Summit County, it’s important in general to protect water quality on Colorado, said Tork, who said he would encourage Gov. Hickenlooper to do everything possible to safeguard the state’s water supplies.
Hickenlooper’s policies sometimes appear to tilt in favor of the energy industry, which is, of course, also a huge part of the state’s economy. According to the brewers, state lawsuits against towns seeking to toughen up drilling regs, as well as Hickenlooper’s reluctance to support stronger health and safety standards as evidence of his pro-industry position.
“We want to be known as a state of natural beauty, pristine natural resources, outdoor activities and great beer, not just a state that promotes drilling and the gas industry,” said Chip Holland, head brewer at the Glenwood Canyon Brewery. “We need to strike a better balance between this type of energy development and conservation for our economy’s sake.”
Revolution Brewing owner, Gretchen King, of Paonia, CO, said, “I think there is a natural concern from brewers about the oil and gas industry since good clean Colorado water is our most important ingredient in beer.”