Colorado Capitol Report

Senate Committee Sets Date for Hearing on Bill Seeking to Codify State Appeals Court Ruling on Martinez Case before Colorado Supreme Court Can Rule

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Senate Committee Sets Date for Hearing on Bill Seeking to Codify State Appeals Court Ruling on Martinez Case before Colorado Supreme Court Can Rule

HB-1071, which the Democrat-controlled House passed over the opposition of two Democrats and all Republicans, is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee when it convenes upon adjournment of the Senate’s floor session on Wednesday morning, March 7th, in Senate Committee Room 357.

The CACI Energy and Environment Council opposes the measure.

The Senate sponsor is Senator Dominick Moreno (D-Commerce City).

HB-1071 was sponsored in the House by Representative Joe Salazar (D-Thornton)., who is running for the Democrat nomination for Colorado Attorney GeneralRepresentative Salazar is term-limited.

The significance of the Martinez case, which the Colorado Supreme Court agreed on January 29th to hear, to not only the oil-and-gas industry but the entire state economy cannot be understated.  If the ruling by the Colorado court of Appeals in the Martinez case is upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court, decisions by the state’s regulatory body over the industry would very likely be mired in litigation, which could bring new production to a screeching halt.

Here’s the legislative summary of the bill, which was not amended in the House:

HB-1071  “Concerning the regulation of oil and gas operations in a manner consistent with the protection of public safety.”

Current law declares that it is in the public interest to ‘[f]oster the responsible, balanced development, production, and utilization of the natural resources of oil and gas in the state of Colorado in a manner consistent with protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources’. The Colorado court of appeals, in Martinez v. Colo. Oil & Gas Conservation Comm’n , 2017 COA 37, has construed this language to mean that oil and gas development is not balanced with the protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources. Rather, that development must occur in a manner consistent with such protection.

The mission of the COGCC is stated on its web site:

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is charged with fostering the responsible development of Colorado’s oil and gas natural resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources. Our agency seeks to serve, solicit participation from, and maintain working relationships with all those having an interest in Colorado’s oil and gas natural resources.

The bill’s Fiscal Note offers a more detailed analysis of HB-1071:

Summary of Legislation

This bill clarifies that the Colorado Oil and Gas  Conservation Commission (COGCC) in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is required to regulate oil and gas operations in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, safety, and welfare, including the protection of the environment and wildlife resources.  The commission must regulate oil and gas operations so as to prevent and mitigate adverse environmental or public health impacts.


Under current law the COGCC is charged with regulating oil and gas resource production in the state in a way that balances production and public health, safety, and welfare.  In 2013, a rule was proposed requiring that the commission withhold drilling permits unless it could be independently confirmed that the drilling would not adversely impact human health or the environment.  The commission concluded that the proposed rule would readjust the balance between production and public safety, and that the proposed rule would require regulatory actions that are beyond the commission’s statutory authority.  In 2014, the district court upheld the commission’s decision to deny adopting the proposed rule.

The Colorado court of appeals, in Martinez v. Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission 16CA0564 (Colorado 2017), overturned the district court’s decision.  The court of appeals concluded that current regulation is not balanced between production and public health and safety, and that current law gives the commission the authority and obligation to regulate oil and gas development in the interest of public health and the environment.  This bill codifies the result reached in Martinez.

Under a limited set of circumstances, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) consults with the commission on surface location permit applications.  In general, CDPHE staff evaluate the permit application, conduct a site visit, review public comments, confer with staff from air, water and solid waste divisions, and with commission staff.  Currently, the CDPHE consults on about 12 applications annually.

For more information about HB-1071, contact Bill Skewes, CACI Contract Lobbyist.

For more information on this bill and the Martinez case and news media coverage, read:

Correction: Bill Affirming Court Ruling that Public Safety and environment Supersede Oil-and-Gas Production,” CACI Colorado Capitol Report, February 16th.

Colorado Supreme Court agrees to hear appeal in Martinez oil and gas lawsuit,” by Amelia Arvesen, The Longmont Times-Call, January 29th.

Hickenlooper orders halt to fight over court oil-gas ruling, but AG Coffman moves ahead,” Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, May 18, 2017.

Colorado appeals court says state must protect health and environment before allowing oil and gas drilling,” by Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, March 23, 2017.

State Rep. Joe Salazar will run for Colorado attorney general,” by Christopher Osher, The Denver Post, March 10, 2017.

CACI’s Labor and Employment Council Welcomes Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp

On Wednesday, February 21st the CACI Labor and Employment Council heard from Representative Tracy Kraft-Tharp, Chair of the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee. Representative Kraft-Tharp discussed legislation and policy issues that impact CACI’s members and the business community, as well as, answered questions from the council members.

The council discussed several bills including:

  • HB 1001– Concerning the Creation of A Family Medical Leave Program (FAMLI)
  • HB 1033 – Concerning the Time in Which Employees Are Entitled To Take Leave To Participate In Elections
  • HB 1128 – Concerning Strengthening Protections For Consumer Data Privacy
  • HB 1202 – Income Tax Credit Leave Of Absence Organ Donation
  • HB 1230– Concerning the Creation of A Purple Card Program For Legal Work Status In CO
  • SB 44 – Concerning the Ability of Private Employers To Give Preference To Veterans When Making Certain Employment Decisions

The Council has taken an oppose position on HB 1001 and decided to remain neutral on HB 1033 and SB 44.

The next Labor and Employment Council will be March 14th from noon-1:15 pm at CACI’s office.

Support CACI’s Golf Tournament-Sponsorships Now Available

Friday, May 25, 2018

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1 Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs

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Registration – 11:00 a.m.

Shotgun start: 1:00 p.m.

Please visit our website for more information or to register for the golf tournament.

For sponsorship inquiries, please contact Senior Vice President, Events & Political Fundraising Tricia Smith

CACI's Legislative Agenda

Below is a list of bills and their status on which CACI Policy Councils have taken positions. For more information on the bills, contact Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President, State and Federal Relations, at 303.866.9642.

Health Care Council BillsBill Title/DescriptionCouncil Position
HB 1007 by Rep. Kennedy & Sen. LambertSubstance Use Disorder Payment & CoverageOppose
HB 1009 by Rep. Roberts & Sen. DonovanDiabetes Drug Pricing Transparency Act 2018Oppose
HB 1097 by Reps. Catlin, Danielson & Sens. Coram, ToddPatient Choice Of PharmacyOppose
SB 136 by Neville & Reps. Kraft-Tharp, SiasHealth Insurance Producer Fees And Fee DisclosureSupport
SB 023 by Sen. Martinez Humenik & Rep. GinalPromote Off-label Use Pharmaceutical ProductsOppose/Dead


Tax Council BillsBill Title/DescriptionCouncil Position
HB 1022 by Reps. Sias, Kraft-Tharp & Sen. Jahn,Requiring DOR to do RFI for Sales Tax Simplification SystemSupport
HB 1185 by Reps. Kraft-Tharp, Wist & Sens. Neville, MorenoMarket Sourcing For Business Income Tax ApportionmentSupport
HB 1036 by Rep. Leonard & Sen. NevilleReduction of Business Personal Property TaxSupport/Dead
HB 1201 by Rep. Thurlow & Sen. CoramSeverance Tax Voter-Approved Revenue ChangeSupport w/ Amendment


Labor & Employment
Council Bills
Bill Title/DescriptionCouncil Position
HB 1001 by Reps. Winter, Gray & Sens.
Fields, Donovan
Family and Medical Leave Insurance ProgramOppose
HB 1033 by Rep. Weissman & Sen. CoramEmployee Leave To Participate In ElectionsNeutral
HB 1250 by Reps.Kraft-Tharp, Sias & Sen. PriolaAnalysis to Improve Compliance With Rules By BusinessSupport
HB 1261 by Rep. WeissmanColorado Arbitration Fairness ActOppose
HB 1262 by Reps. Jackson & RobertsArbitrations Services Provider Transparency ActOppose
SB 44 by Sen. Crowder & Rep. LandgrafVeterans Employment Preference By Private EmployerNeutral
SB 178 by Sen. Smallwood & Rep. Kraft-TharpSimilar Coverage Independent Commercial VehiclesSupport
SB 193 by Sen. CoramLimit State Agency Occupational RegulationsOppose


Energy & Environment
Council Bills
Bill Title/DescriptionCouncil Position
HB 1071 by Rep. SalazarRegulate Oil Gas Operations Protect Public SafetyOppose/Dead
HB 1157 by Reps. Becker, SingerIncreased Reporting Oil And Gas Incidents

HB 1215 by Rep. ArndtSafe Disposal Naturally Occur Radioactive MaterialOppose As Introduced
SB 009 by Sens. Priola, FenbergAllow Electric Utility Customers Energy Storage EquipmentNeutral
SB 047 by Sen. Marble & Rep. SaineRepeal Tax Credits Innovative VehiclesOppose
SB 063 by Sen. Jones & Rep. BenavidezOil Gas Higher Financial Assurance Reclamation RequirementsOppose/Dead
SB 064 by Sen. Jones & Rep. FooteRequire 100% Renewable Energy By 2035Oppose/Dead
SB 167 by Sens. Scott, Donovan & Reps. Winter, Saine Enforce Requirements 811 Locate Underground FacilitiesNeutral


Governmental Affairs
Council Bills
Bill Title/DescriptionCouncil Position
SB 062 by Sen. MorenoSnow Removal Service Liability LimitationOppose
HB 1128 by Reps. Wist, Bridges & Sens. Court, LambertProtections For Consumer Data PrivacySupport as Amended


General Business Issues BillsBill Title/DescriptionCouncil Position
SB 001 by Sens. Cooke, Baumgardner & Reps Carver, BuckTransportation Infrastructure FundingSupport