Western Wire

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is set to attend a February fundraiser in Colorado at the home of former Obama Administration Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Colorado Politics reports.

The fundraiser is scheduled just weeks before “Super Tuesday” where 16 states and U.S. territories—including Colorado—will cast their ballot in the Democratic Primary on March 3.

Salazar will host the fundraiser, with tickets ranging from $500 to $2,800 per plate.

After endorsing the former Vice President last September, Salazar told MSNBC, “Joe is a uniter, he is results oriented, and we need to have him in the White House today because the country more than ever before needs someone who can unite our country… I know how effective he is at delivering results for the American people.”

Biden’s visit to Colorado, a leading oil and gas producing state, comes as the issues of climate change and fossil fuel production have taken center-stage during the Democratic primary as well as in the Colorado State Legislature.

During a campaign rally in Aurora, Colo. this past April, fellow Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren pledged to halt drilling for new oil and gas development on federal lands via Executive Order.

In September, Bernie Sanders, also vying for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, rallied in Denver against “fossil fuel billionaires” and voiced his support for “aggressive” and “far reaching” climate change policy.

Biden himself recently supported the jailing of fossil fuel executives during a New Hampshire town hall last month.

“Number two, holding them liable for what they have done,” he said in reference to fossil fuel executives during remarks about climate change, “particularly in those cases where your underserved neighborhoods and – you know the deal, ok. And by the way, when they don’t want to deliver, put them in jail. I’m not joking about this.”

However, in September, the vice president met some controversy during a televised CNN Townhall when confronted about one of the hosts of an upcoming fundraiser being co-hosted by a co-founder of a fossil fuel company. The executive, Andrew Goldman, was a previous adviser for Biden as a U.S. Senator. Biden appeared stumped by the question of support from Goldman, whose Western LNG produces natural gas.

While the rhetoric has become more charged this election cycle, Salazar has maintained pragmatic approach to supporting oil and natural gas since leaving his post as head of the Interior Department in 2013.

In 2018, Salazar joined in with fellow Colorado Democrats Governor Jared Polis and John Hickenlooper—who preceded Polis and is now running for the Democratic Senate nomination—in opposing Proposition 112. The ballot measure would have mandated 2,500-foot setbacks of oil and gas operations from homes, schools and other buildings statewide, putting most of Colorado’s land off limits to production. It failed by a 44-54 percent margin.

“Number one, if it were to pass it’s fundamentally, in my view, unconstitutional,” Salazar said in 2018, as Western Wire reported. “It’s a regulatory taking that I don’t think anybody wants to bite into, so I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

During the event, Salazar also characterized the anti-oil and gas proposal as impractical.

“We have to come up with practical solutions that aren’t way off the map in the way the 2,500-foot setback proposal is,” he said at the time.

Salazar also opposed SB-181, a state bill which overhauled Colorado’s state oil and gas regulations, calling it “too extreme” in a Denver Post Op-Ed.