Increased Penalties for Oil and Gas Company violations (HB13-1267): Sponsored by Rep. Mike Foote (HD12) and State Senator Matt Jones (SD17). Colorado has some of the lowest fines in the country for companies that violate Colorado Oil and Gas Commission (COGCC) rules, and this bill addresses that! Text from the bill reads as follows: “The bill increases the maximum daily fine to $15,000, sets a minimum fine of $5,000 per violation per day for violations that have a significant adverse impact on public health, safety, or welfare, including the environment and wildlife resources, and repeals the cap on the maximum total fine.”
ACTION ITEMS. Here’s how you can help:
1. The bill first goes to the Transportation and Energy Committee, so send an email to each of the committee members urging their support of this bill. (Use the “contacts” widget, on the lower right of this page, then click the “2013 House Committees” link. Transportation and Energy is the last one listed)
2. Contact Rep. Foote (303-866-2920 / firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Sen. Jones (303-866-5291 / email@example.com) thanking them for their work on this bill and asking them what you can do next in support of their efforts.
3. Track the bill. Go to www.leg.state.co.us Click “SESSION INFORMATION”, then House 2013 Regular Session, then Status Sheet. Go to toggle near top that reads Select Bill Range (House Bills 1251-1271), click “go” to find HB13-1267. You can download a pdf of the bill and you can see its progress through the Committees until it is ready to be voted upon.
Suggested language and talking points:
(It’s always good to relate a personal story as to why this bill is important to you!)
• Fines for oil and gas drilling violations in Colorado are currently among the lowest in the United States and have not been updated for two decades. The current statute only allows for a maximum fine of $1000 per violation per day with a $10,000 cap unless the violation results in “significant” waste of oil and gas resources, damage to correlative rights, or adverse impact on public health.
• HB-1267 updates the fine schedule by paralleling Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) fines for air quality violations (a maximum of $15,000 per violation per day), eliminating the cap on fines, and establishing a mandatory minimum fine for significant impacts on public health.
• The current fine structure penalizes operators who play by the rules by making the cost of noncompliance so cheap. It does not hold noncompliant operators accountable.
• HB-1267 is a common sense solution that protects Colorado jobs and Coloradans by ensuring the current environmental protections are enforceable.
Thanks again…this is what Democracy looks like!