Category Archives: Local Politics and Elections

Evolving category of posts related to upcoming elections or other interactions with elected officials at the Colorado state and local levels at Fort Collins, Larimer County and Weld County

LARIMER ALLIANCE ENDORSES State senator Joann Ginal and Representatives Jeni arndt and Cathy Kipp for Re-election

     The Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety & the Environment is a coalition of Northern Colorado citizens and groups committed to protecting Larimer County from harm by oil and gas development.  We aim to educate the public about this issue and ensure that local and state governments develop and implement policies that prioritize the protection of public health and safety, environmental quality, wildlife resources, and the integrity of public lands, in accordance with Colorado law.  

     Since our founding in 2019, the Alliance has been focused on oil and gas issues in Larimer County and greater Northern Colorado. Particular attention was given to new regulations enacted at the County level under the mandate of Senate Bill 19-181, a state reform which called for more protection of health, safety, and the environment by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), and allows more local control. 

    The current Board of County Commissioners enacted local regulations that were not in the spirit of SB-181. Both before and after the passage of those local rules, the Alliance provided input at the State level as new regulations on oil and gas were being drafted by the COGCC and the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC). This frequently includes consultation and collaboration with Larimer County’s representatives in the State Legislature.  

Our experience throughout this process has led us to endorse State Senator Joann Ginal in Senate District 14, Representative Jeni Arndt in House District 53, and Cathy Kipp in House District 52 for re-election in 2020. 

     With a 20- year career in bio-sciences specializing in reproductive endocrinology prior to her entering the Colorado legislature, Senator Ginal has long been concerned about the effects of oil and gas development on public health and the environment, and co-sponsored SB-181. She ran bills on the epidemiological effects of oil and gas development on nearby communities, as well as on the potential earthquake hazards presented by fracking.

     Representative Kipp serves on the House Energy and Environment Committee, closely tracking the new regulatory processes of both the COGCC and the AQCC. Representative Arndt serves on many committees. Her knowledge of water law is the reason why she has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Western Council of State Governments’ Agriculture and Water Committee. She is keenly aware of issues centered on the vast amount of water utilized in fracking processes. 

     Representatives Arndt and Kipp were both co-sponsors of SB-181 in the House. As new regulations were being formulated this year by the COGCC, all three of our Larimer County legislators signed a letter to support greater setbacks of oil and gas projects from homes, schools, and other sensitive locations. 

     We feel these public servants are paying quite appropriate attention to environmental issues in general and oil and gas regulatory issues in particular. It is our hope that they can continue their advocacy on behalf of Larimer County on these and other issues as they are re-elected to their seats in 2020. As ever, the Larimer Alliance stands ready to assist in educating and informing our representatives and the community at large as these issues march forward.

Larimer alliance endorses Kristin stephens and jody shadduck-mcnally for larimer board of county commisioners

     The Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety & the Environment is a coalition of Northern Colorado citizens and groups committed to protecting Larimer County from harm by oil and gas development.  We aim to educate the public and ensure that local and state governments develop and implement policies that prioritize the protection of public health and safety, environmental quality, wildlife resources, and the integrity of public lands, in accordance with Colorado law.  

     The Larimer Alliance submitted questions on two separate occasions to all the candidates (Jody Shadduck-McNally, Kristin Stephens, Ben Aste and Bob McCluskey) running for The Larimer County Board of County Commissioners. We have posted their replies or lack thereof (see here).  We appreciate the participation and responses from Jody Shadduck-McNally, Kristin Stephens and Ben Aste. 

Based on these responses from the candidates and their other public statements, we proudly endorse Kristin Stephens (District 2 seat) and Jody Shadduck-McNally (District 3 seat) to be the next Larimer County Commissioners.  

     Additionally, we stand ready to assist in helping educate and rewrite the recently adopted Larimer County Oil & Gas regulations (see this page on the Larimer Alliance website), that are woefully inadequate protections for the health and safety of all Larimer County residents, the environment and wildlife, in accordance with the law.


The year is 2020, and we have consequential elections happening at all levels in these United States. The results of our voting this year are going to be critical for our Republic and society at large, let alone the survival of life on our planet. All this is happening in the context of great turmoil over social justice issues and in the midst of a terrible pandemic. But elections have consequences, and they are to be taken seriously at all levels of government.

The Larimer County Commissioners are elected in two stages: first by district, then in a county-wide election. There are three districts, which divide the county into roughly three equal parts; a map of the county districts can be seen here. Candidates for commissioner are first elected in a primary election within their district, and are then voted on in a county wide election. Each political party could have as many as two candidates per election, running against each other in a district primary; the third commissioner is elected on a staggered term, offset by two years.

The three member board of the Larimer County Commissioners has traditionally been dominated by the Republican Party. In 2018, John Kefalas, a Democrat, was elected in District 1 to a four year term. The other two commissioners, Steve Johnson and Tom Donnelly, both Republican, are both term limited this year, each after serving for twelve years, or three terms.

The commissioners have great influence over how county resources are directed. This year was especially significant because the county had to develop its local oil and gas regulations, as directed by Senate Bill 19-181, the groundbreaking new law passed in April 2019. The Larimer Alliance was formed in the summer of that year because we knew that the commissioners would be developing these new regulations.

The first action that the commissioners took was to form an Oil & Gas Task Force in the fall 2019, composed of 15 individuals selected from a pool of about 90 who volunteered, and charged them with developing these local regulations in conjunction with the County Planning Department. The Alliance considered the selection of the Task Force members biased in favor of the industry from the start, which consequently developed regulations which we considered lacking, particularly regarding setback distances, and in environmental monitoring of air and water quality.

As such, representatives of the Larimer Alliance spoke at many of the weekly meetings public comment period. We urged the commissioners to strengthen the regulations; but when the final votes were taken on the regulations in March 2020 the two Republican commissioners overruled the one Democratic commissioner on every point.

With this election in November, there is an opportunity to elect a Democratic majority to the board, which could make a significant difference in how our local oil and gas regulations are implemented going forward.

Following the primary results last June, Republican Bob McCluskey will face Democrat Kristin Stephens in District 2; while in District 3, Republican Ben Aste will be running against Democrat Jody Shadduck-McNally.

The Larimer Alliance submitted the following questions about oil and gas development to the candidates running for the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners:

  1. Have you received or will you receive campaign contributions from companies whose primary business is in development of fossil fuels?
  2. SB19-181 substantially revised Colorado’s law governing oil and gas development, including local government authority. Do you think that Larimer County’s recently enacted oil and gas regulations provide sufficient or insufficient protection for public health, safety, the environment and wildlife resources? Please specify what you want changed in the County’s oil and gas regulations, if anything.
  3. What role do you think Larimer County should strive for in facilitating the transition away from fossil fuels?
  4. A substantial body of peer-reviewed scientific research shows significant negative health impacts from close proximity to oil and gas operations. Do you support a 2000 or 2500 foot setback for homes, schools, hospitals, parks, playgrounds and water sources from new oil & gas operations? Please explain why or why not. 

We received comprehensive responses from the two Democratic candidates (Shadduck-McNally and Stephens), but only one of the Republican candidates (Aste).

We have provided the responses from the candidates below. At this time the county’s regulations on oil and gas projects are minimal at best. New state regulations are being formulated with encouraging signs of proactive care for our health, safety, and the environment. It will be important to have elected officials in our county government to advocate for proper control of these operations locally, and to stand for us at the state level on behalf of the people of Larimer County.

Response from Jody Shadduck-McNally

Response from Kristin Stephens

Response from Ben Aste

The Larimer Alliance will continue to keep our community informed on critical issues related to oil and gas development in our county, both during the election and beyond.