Colorado Capitol Report

The Colorado Chamber Governmental Affairs Staff Engages COGCC, Energy and Environment Stakeholders

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CACI Governmental Affairs Staff Engages COGCC, Energy and Environment Stakeholders

This week, CACI’s governmental relations team was busy engaging a number of issues and audiences important to CACI’s Energy & Environment sector members and their priorities.

On Monday, Loren Furman, CACI Senior Vice President of State and Governmental Affairs, testified before the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  Loren’s testimony came just after DNR staff presented their proposed 500-series rules for new processes for addressing alleged violations of COGCC rules and increased fine amounts for violations that are substantiated.

House Bill 1356, which called for increased fines for certain categories of COGCC rule violations, passed as a compromise bill during the 2014 session after over two years of intense negotiations between the Hickenlooper Administration, the oil and gas industry and the environmental advocacy community.  However, proposed rules resulting from an overly broad interpretation of the new statutory authority threatened to expose Colorado’s oil and gas industry to fines that far exceed the intention of the 2014 legislation.

Loren’s testimony highlighted that the higher fine amounts in the proposed rules exceeded intent of the compromise legislation that passed with both industry and environmental advocacy support.  Loren urged the COGCC to remain within the scope of the legislative compromise as they continue to develop and finalize the pending COGCC rules.  The COGCC took action Tuesday to delay further action on the rule package until January 7th, as reported in this Denver Post article.

This week, Dan O’Connell, CACI State Governmental Affairs Representative, also presented at the Colorado Environmental Partnership’s (CEP) annual legislative preview event hosted at the Denver offices of law firm, Faegre, Baker, Daniels, LLP.  CEP is the oldest business environmental organization in the state, whose mission is to promote collaboration among businesses, government agencies and public interest organizations in addressing complex energy and environmental issues.

While CACI does not take positions on legislation prior to introduction, the event provided the opportunity to communicate CACI’s mission and guiding principles to a diverse group of leaders from Colorado’s energy and environment sectors.

Administrative staff from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado Department of Natural Resources discussed each department’s respective agenda for 2015 and the coming legislative session.  Numerous energy industry leaders and leading environmental advocates also presented their priorities and agendas for the coming year.


CACI Energy and Environment Council Selects New Air Quality Committee Chair: Adam Berig

Adam Berig

Adam Berig

Adam Berig is the U.S. Air Quality Manager for Encana Oil & Gas.  He has a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Engineering and Technology Management from the Colorado School of Mines.  Adam has over ten years of air quality experience in the oil and gas industry.  He has been with Encana for just over two and a half years and was an environmental consultant with Olsson Associates and Cordilleran prior to that. During his work with Olsson Associates, Adam served as the Air Quality Chair for the Colorado Oil & Gas Association for approximately 2 years.

New State Community College Website Provides Education and Training Information for Manufacturing

American manufacturing has received a lot of positive press recently but the sector’s most significant challenge remains finding employees with the right skills and the right training.  By some estimates, as many as 16,000 manufacturing jobs will go unfilled in Colorado this year.

Thanks to a new website developed by the Colorado Community College System (CCCS),, manufacturers and their prospective employees can access an innovative and interactive website to learn everything there is to know to get the education and training needed to fill these well-paying and fulfilling jobs.

The website is designed to educate users about the opportunities the industry offers and how to move into, or upward, or across its various career paths.   At the site, users have access to innovative and interactive tools like the Skills Crosswalks that are designed to help workers understand the skills and educational credentials necessary if they want to move from another industry into advanced manufacturing.

Another interactive tool is the Career Map where users can visualize an entire industry and learn what educational paths to follow to move upward or laterally.  With a better picture of the opportunities the industry offers and what skills and training are needed, the website delivers a host of tools that can help bridge the skills gap within manufacturers and the broader community.

It’s a new day for manufacturing in Colorado.  A highly trained and competitive workforce in advanced manufacturing is a powerful tool that in turn translates into long-term company growth and security.  So don’t wait — visit to learn more about the resources that can help manufacturers and workers create the best trained and most effective workforce in today’s advanced manufacturing industry.

NAM President to Visit Colorado in February

Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers will be in Colorado on February 12 to deliver a 2015 State of Manufacturing address. The event will take place over lunch at the Ball Corporation in Broomfield.  Representatives from two Colorado manufacturers, Ball and Centennial Bolt, sit on the NAM Board of Directors.  More information will be provided in the coming weeks.

For information on CACI Colorado Manufacturing Initiative, contact Patrick Pratt, Program Manager, at 303.656.6915

Congressional Update: “Cromnibus” and Tax Extenders Packages Pass Congress

With just hours before a potential Federal Government shutdown arrived, the House (219-206) and Senate (56-40) were able to combine the Continuing Resolution (a.k.a. “CR”) with a heavy Omnibus bill.  In the final hours before passage of the $1 trillion package, President Obama joined the lobbying efforts to push Democrats for support of passage.

A handful of vocal Democrats, however, objected to the roll-back of a Dodd-Frank derivatives provision, an appropriations reduction for the IRS, as well as several steps taken to limit recent EPA changes.

The spending bill sets up a February showdown over funding for the Department of Homeland Security which must implement President Obama’s immigration Executive Memorandum in 2015.  The rest of the Government will now be funded through September 2015.

Spending Bill Brief:

  • ACA still funded but no additional funding
  • Ex-Im Bank authority to fund international coal-fired plants renewed & extended
  • Additional $42M for CDC & $30M to fight Ebola; NIH gets $150M increase
  • $1M to compensate ranchers whose livestock are attacked by federally-protected wolves
  • Removes proposed EPA protections for sage grouse (Colorado mention)
  • Prevents Clean Water Act from applying to farmers’ stock ponds & irrigation ditches
  • Reduces IRS & EPA budget to lowest levels since 1989
  • Changes Dodd-Frank provision re: derivatives
  • Reduces immigration budget, maintains border security funding
  • DC prohibited from legalizing marijuana
  • Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) changes made to avoid WTO sanctions
  • Increases political giving limits by 10x for Democratic National Committee, Republican National Committee & their political arms

The 2014 Tax Extenders saw major support from businesses but there’s a catch – this extender’s package is only good for 2014, so there are less than two weeks for individuals and businesses to take advantage of the tax breaks.  The House passed the bill Dec. 3 & the Senate finally passed the bill (76-16) Dec. 16th prior to sine die, despite Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) voting ‘no’.  Included among the approved provisions were an extension of the R&D credit, bonus depreciation & Sec. 179 expensing, as well as write-offs for charitable giving, certain tuition expenses and sales tax.  The Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) was not addressed before Congress adjourned for the year.