COLORADO- A bill aiming to prioritize health and safety for Coloradans when it comes oil and gas development is making fast moves in the legislature.
Lawmakers introduced the bill on Friday, and it’s scheduled for a Senate committee on Tuesday.
‘That’s not the way we do things down here,’ said Senator Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling), ‘especially when stakeholders weren’t part of the conversation.’
Sonnenberg is referring to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and Colorado Petroleum Council.
Last Thursday, lawmakers held a press conference announcing the legislation would be on the way.
The Executive Director of the Colorado Petroleum Council, Tracee Bentley released a statement last week saying in part, ‘we are deeply disappointed that House and Senate leadership do not appear to value the stakeholder process nor the importance of having all stakeholders at the table on one of the most consequential proposals in Colorado history.’
Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, who’s sponsoring the legislation believes it’s been given enough time.
‘We’ve been working on it for a long time,’ said Fenberg, who adds the research and stakeholder process of the bill lasted months.
‘I don’t think this will be on the Governor’s desk until a month, and I think that’s plenty of time to have a discussion out in the open,’ said Fenberg.
Other groups say the bill doesn’t go far enough.
‘Colorado Rising,’ the group behind Proposition 112 on the November ballot say they are remaining neutral on the bill for now.
Still, the group says it would be unconscionable for lawmakers to vote against it.
‘From our perspective, it’s common sense, this is not the end game, this is where we should’ve been starting from the very beginning,’ said Suzanne Spiegel, Development Director, Colorado Rising.
The legislation makes several changes, including giving more control to local governments when it comes to oil and gas.
‘We give local governments the ability to site just about everything, except oil and gas,’ said Fenberg.
The bill also changes the make up of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Currently, three members from the oil and gas industry serve on the commission, this bill reduces that number to one. The bill also makes requirements for other members having experience in areas such as public health, wildlife protection, agriculture producers, and soil conservation.
When it comes to drilling permits, the legislation would put a hold on some of those plans until the rules become law.
To see the bill in its entirety, visit the following link: Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations