Where Senate candidates Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper stand on Colorado issues

Cory Gardner vs John Hickenlooper on Colorado issues: Where the U.S. Senate candidates stand

  Public Lands


Background: The Trump administration relocated the federal Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Grand Junction in July 2019, a move supported by Republican and Democratic leaders in Colorado. The Department of the Interior said about 40 BLM employees would transfer to the new location, far fewer than initially hoped. But the move drew controversy and a congressional investigation after critics suggested it was designed to gut the agency.


He led the relocation push

A: Gardner sponsored legislation to move the land management agency’s headquarters to Grand Junction and worked with the Trump administration to make it happen.




Backed the agency’s move to Colorado

A: He said it made sense to move the agency that manages public lands closer to them and supported the move, writing in a letter that “Grand Junction is an ideal location for the BLM to conduct its operations.” But since then he has expressed concern that it delivered fewer jobs than first promised and the agency doesn’t have a director who supports public lands.




Public lands

What efforts do you support to expand access to public lands, and would you vote for the CORE Act?

Background: The fierce debate over who can use Colorado’s federally owned public lands -- and for what purpose -- is a constant fault line in Colorado politics. The U.S. House last year passed the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act -- a massive public lands measure that would designate roughly 100,000 acres for new wilderness and recreation in the state, and remove more than 200,000 acres from oil and gas development. The measure has stalled in the GOP-led Senate and faces a veto threat from the White House.


He won’t support the CORE Act but passed other public lands legislation

A: Gardner is not supporting the CORE Act, in part because of opposition from U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, whose district covers much of the land that would be designated under the bill. However, he led the push for the Great American Outdoors Act, a measure that provided full funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which will help preserve public lands.




Supports passing the CORE Act

A: Hickenlooper made public lands a focus in his terms as governor and is touting the CORE Act in his campaign for U.S. Senate. He supports dedicating 3% of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to be used to expand public access to federal lands and make exploring them more accessible. He has said that he wants federal agencies working with local agencies and the sports and recreation industry to invest in projects that will increase access to the outdoors.



Background: The Trump administration has aggressively promoted energy production on public lands, including in Colorado. The state is among the leaders in drilling on public lands, and the effort is expanding. The federal Bureau of Land Management wanted to limit oil and gas production on 190,000 acres in eastern Colorado, but in 2019 the agency suggested granting protections to fewer than 2,000 acres. This has riled wildlife conservationists who want to protect habitats, including those for the sage grouse, and also those who want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Proponents counter that the lease proceeds can help fund national parks.


Supports the oil and gas industry

A: Gardner voted to confirm Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a Colorado native who supports drilling on public lands. And he doesn’t oppose continued drilling on public lands and offshore, the proceeds of which funded conservation efforts in the Great American Outdoors Act he shepherded to law earlier this year.




Does not support new oil and gas extraction on public lands

A: Hickenlooper supports curbing future oil and gas leasing on public lands. As governor he opposed drilling for oil and gas on nearly 200,000 acres of the Thompson Divide. But he opposes breaking existing contracts, but is focused on the transition to clean energy.



The Issues

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The Candidates

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Cory Gardner

Cory Gardner

U.S. senator   

John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper

Former Colorado governor and Denver mayor