Former Colorado Senator: Steyer Involvement in Senate Contest an ‘Insult’

Tom Steyer / AP
• October 6, 2014 11:10 am


A former U.S. senator in Colorado sees parallels between billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer’s meddling in current Senate elections in the state and his hedge fund’s efforts to drain a small Colorado town’s water supply and sell it to the highest bidder.

Former Sen. Wayne Allard (R., Colo.) compared Steyer to 19th century gold prospectors in Colorado in a weekend column for the Pueblo Chieftan.

Many communities across our state and the Rocky Mountain region have harnessed various water supplies for economic growth. Those same water resources became an attractive target to out-of-state retired hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, as well as to state governments and Washington regulators. Just like prospectors who came 150 years earlier for gold, Steyer came to Colorado in hopes of striking it rich by draining and selling our water.

In 1995 Tom Steyer descended on Colorado, standing to make millions by exporting the water under the San Luis Valley and selling it to the highest bidder. Draining this particular aquifer would have had disastrous consequences for farms, wetlands and the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Impact from Steyer’s plan would have been severe and activists called the proposed plan an environmental disaster.

The Washington Free Beacon previously reported on the efforts of Farallon Capital Management, the hedge fund Steyer founded in 1987 and led until late 2012, to drain an aquifer in the San Luis Valley.

That effort, and additional environmentally destructive Farallon investments, garnered not just local outrage and political opposition, but a nationwide student divestment movement that aimed to drop Farallon from university endowment portfolios.

Allard portrays Steyer’s extensive involvement in this year’s Colorado Senate race as a similar attempt to exploit the state’s natural resources for his own gain.

Now, Tom Steyer is coming back to Colorado — this time to meddle in Colorado’s energy economy and elections. Steyer is supporting U.S. Sen. Mark Udall. […]

Mr. Steyer’s presence in Colorado is an insult to those who cherish our natural resources and the incomparable beauty and majesty of places like the Great Sand Dunes. We need to elect Cory Gardner, who knows the importance of water through practical experience.