The long-awaited bill sponsored by legislative Democrats and backed by Gov. Jared Polis that would greatly alter oil and gas production in Colorado was introduced Friday, March 1st, and is scheduled to be heard tomorrow afternoon.
SB-181, “Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations,” is sponsored by House Speaker KC Becker (D-Boulder) and Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder).
The bill was assigned to the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee, which has scheduled a hearing tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5th, in Senate Committee Room 357 when the Committee convenes at 2 p.m.
The two major trade associations representing the industry — Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Colorado Petroleum Council — have asked legislative leadership to postpone the bill’s first hearing “to allow for a transparent stakeholder process that includes impacted Coloradans, including local governments, environmental interests, regulators, and industry.” Both organizations are members of the Colorado Chamber.
The 27-page introduced bill would generally, among other things:
- Empower local governments’ authority to regulate various aspects of oil-and-gas production;
- Direct the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to regulate the industry to emphasize public safety and the environment over production, a sharp change from its current statutory directive to balance the two objectives.
- Alter the composition of the Commission to decrease from three to one the number of energy-industry representatives and increase representation with individuals with backgrounds in environmental protection; wildlife protection; environmental protection; soil conservation/reclamation; agriculture production or royalty owner; and public health training/experience.
For information on the bill, contact Loren Furman, Colorado Chamber Senior Vice President, State and Federal Policy, at 303.866.9642.
For news media coverage, read:
“Fossil fuels industry asks Colorado lawmakers to delay hearing on proposed oil and gas legislation,” by Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, March 3rd.
“Big Colorado oil and gas bill lands; would move more control to local communities,” by Conrad Swenson, The Gazette, Colorado Politics, March 2nd.
“Colorado bill would strip powers from oil and gas, give local governments new say in wells,” by Ed Sealover, The Denver Business Journal, March 2nd.
“’Most sweeping oil and gas reforms’ in Colorado history proposed by state legislators,” by Judith Kohler The Denver Post, February 28th.