Western Tradition Partnership (WTP), a conservative nonprofit with its political fingers in everything from energy production to commercial development by mega-churches, is now reportedly targeting the preservation of Colorado’s public lands.
The Denver Daily News recently reported the group, which now claims to be based in Denver but has extensive ties to Montana, has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking all documents related to the Obama administration’s use of the Antiquities Act to possibly establish up to 14 new national monuments, including the Vermillion Basin in Moffat County.
WTP is the same group that insinuated itself into the Longmont city council election last fall, taking on an incumbent for her failure to support a commercial development by a mega-church several years ago. The group also attacks CD4 Congresswoman Betsy Markey every chance it gets, and was very active for the oil and gas industry in a Garfield County commissioners race in 2008.
The Vermillion Basin is loaded with natural gas and other minerals, and the latest dustup stems from a leaked U.S. Interior Department memo showing some interest in preserving the natural beauty of the place, according to the Daily News. The Obama administration denies it has any immediate plans to create new national monuments.
The paper also reported Colorado’s Republican Reps., Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman, have introduced a bill to prevent the establishing of any new national monuments in Colorado because of the potential to lose future energy resources.
WTP also made headlines recently for backing a ballot initiative that would allow Colorado voters to opt out of the state’s renewable energy standard, which mandates that 30 percent of the electricity produced by investor-owned utilities like Xcel Energy must come from renewable sources by the year 2020. Some observers say the ballot question is a thinly veiled attempt by the coal industry to maintain the status quo.