Leftwing environmentalist group the Sierra Club recently announced its support for Rep. Jared Polis’s (D-CO) gubernatorial campaign. The group is putting its money where its mouth is by launching a $600,000 campaign in support of the liberal Democrat’s campaign. Polis is currently locked in a primary battle with the state’s lieutenant governor, the former state treasurer, and a former state senator. The Democrat primary in Colorado will be held on June 26.
— Colorado Independent (@COindependent) June 6, 2018
In its $600k announcement, the Sierra Club cited Polis’s “bold leadership” as cause for their endorsement, but also “his support for 100% clean, renewable energy.” And while it’s true that Polis has supported some of the farthest fringe ideas when it comes to energy, the wealthy congressman’s investments reveal some glaring hypocrisies in his record.
Polis, who routinely ranks among the richest members of Congress, is worth nearly $400 million, ranking him second in the House according to OpenSecrets.org. That largesse has gotten him into trouble when it comes to his investments, according to an AR Intel investigation.
Despite actively pushing for an anti-fracking measure in 2014, Polis’s hedge fund, Jove Partners, owned a $752,000 stake in Canadian Natural Resources Limited and a $2.28 million stake in Rosetta Resources, Inc. Both companies engaged in fracking and drilling in shale basins.
Even more directly, Polis reported investments in companies that engage in hydraulic fracturing in his 2016 personal financial disclosure. That includes between $1,000 and $15,000 in Gryphon Petroleum and Cirque Resources LP, each. Cirque helpfully provides a graphic of how they operate on their website, complete with a photo of a rig with a rainbow.
Invested in Colorado Fracking
Polis has previously defended his investments in these companies, saying his investments were in Canadian companies that did not operate in Colorado. “If I’m the owner of a fracking company and if this is Canada, then it would be a different story,” Polis said in 2013. “But I’m concerned about fracking’s impact on Colorado families and properties.”
However, some of Cirque’s drilling occurs in Colorado, in northern Weld County, according to Energy & Mining Magazine, the very county in which Polis lives.
“It’s really starting to take off right about now,” Cirque President and CEO Peter Dea said in an undated Energy & Mining article. “Approximately 10 wells are producing there, and several more are drilling and waiting on completion. 2014 will be a pretty busy and exciting year up there. There are at least 50 wells that have been permitted or are in the process of being permitted.”
Investments in the Largest Energy Producers
But Polis’s hypocrisy doesn’t end there. Despite frequent attacks against the oil and gas industry, Polis’s 2016 financial disclosure reveals he’s invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange traded funds (ETFs) that own shares of Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest publicly traded oil companies in the world. Shell’s website notes that it uses hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to “break open rock and release natural gas.” The same is true of Polis’s investments in ETFs that are invested in ExxonMobil (the largest gas producer in the world), BP, Total SA, Chevron, and the list goes on and on.
Polis has been described as the “poster boy” for going after oil companies and those who use fracking to produce energy resources. That’s likely how he scored the endorsement of a group like the Sierra Club. But Polis’s financial dealings complicate his record. It’s hard to be the poster boy for an issue when you’re profiting from the industry you attack the most.