by Pam Zubeck
Want to know how those chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing might affect your health?
How can protecting public lands be an economic driver?
Where is drilling happening in the West?
These are but a few questions for which you can find answers from the newest player in the environmental movement, the Center for Western Priorities.
The organization, which launched today, is headed up by Trevor Kincaid, communications director for the campaign of Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. Kincaid also has worked for other lawmakers, all of them Democrats, including Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.; Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and former Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Texas.
Kincaid says the organization gets its funding from the New Venture Fund, which the fund's website describes as supporting "a range of public interest projects, the majority of which focus on conservation and global health. NVF has also managed programs focused on voter registration, public policy, disaster recovery, education, and music and the arts. NVF has experience managing multiple multimillion-dollar small-grants programs focused on a variety of critical public interest causes."
Kincaid says his group will strive for accountability, integrity and responsibility in helping develop an energy plan and public land plan "on Colorado's terms." The organization will not engage in lobbying, he said.
Here's how its website describes the new organization:
The Center for Western Priorities is a nonpartisan engagement center that serves as a source of accurate information, promotes responsible policies and practices, and ensures accountability at all levels to protect land, water, and communities in the American West.
The group's policy director is Greg Zimmerman, a Colorado College graduate who worked with the Nature Conservancy and the Colorado Watershed Assembly. Project assist is Erin Moriarty, who's written for local and national publications.