With the start of Colorado’s state legislative season this week, Western Values Project (WVP) — an Accountable.US project based in Montana, defending America’s public lands — is making public their in-depth research concerning special interest monied influence on Colorado’s and other Western states’ public lands and natural resources available on their MoneyTrails website.
“Special interest influence on our Western way of life continues to upend public lands protections. MoneyTrails is a resource for the public, as well as decision-makers, in our continued fight to keep public lands in public hands by exposing front groups seeking to undermine our outdoor heritage for their narrow interests,” said Jayson O’Neill, Deputy Director of Western Values Project. “The first report focuses on one of the most insidious anti-public land front groups backed by oil and gas corporations operating in Colorado that have targeted Coloradan voices and public lands – Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy, And Energy Independence.”
At the forefront of industry influence in Colorado is the group Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy, And Energy Independence (PCEEEI) — a campaign committee funneling millions of dollars’ worth of contributions from the oil and gas industry into campaigns opposing citizen-led ballot initiatives. PCEEEI was originally established to protect the oil and gas industry, raking in over $65 million in donations from oil and gas corporations, though the group is known for playing fast and loose with campaign finance laws. Learn more about PCEEEI here.
Public lands are a critical part of Colorado’s infrastructure, recreation economy, and employment rate, supporting 229,000 jobs in Colorado, generating $28 billion in consumer spending and $2 billion in state and local tax revenue. The state has nearly 24 million acres of federal public land including four national parks: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, and Rocky Mountain.
MoneyTrails was created by WVP to document the influence that special interest groups, extractive industries, and anti-public lands front groups exert on public lands issues throughout the West. The taxpaying public deserves to know how these monied front groups are attempting to influence public land decisions to benefit corporate and special interests, and MoneyTrails is a resource intended to shed light on these critical issues.