HB1269 – Concerning the reduction of conflicts of interest within the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC): Sponsored by Rep. Mike Foote (HD12) and State Senator Matt Jones (SD17). Sometimes the COGCC has to be reminded that public health comes FIRST, and this bill addresses that. Text from the bill reads as follows: “Under current law, the Colorado oil and gas conservation commission:
• Has mandates to reduce waste and to foster the development of oil and gas resources in a manner consistent with the protection of public health, the environment, and wildlife resources; and
• Can include at least 3 commissioners who are employed by the industry.
Section 1 of the bill amends the commission’s mandate to ensure that the development of oil and gas resources protects public health, the environment, and wildlife resources. Section 2 redefines “waste” to exclude reduced production that results from compliance with government regulation. Section 3 prohibits a newly appointed commissioner from being an employee, officer, or director of an oil and gas operator or oil and gas service company while serving on the commission.”
ACTION ITEMS. Here’s how you can help:
1. Show your support for this bill by going to the State Capitol TOMORROW, Thursday, March 28, around 10am, Room 0112. Speak in support of the bill, or just be present to show support in numbers!
2. The bill now goes to the Transportation Committee, so send an email to each of the committee members urging their support of this bill. (Click the “contacts” widget, lower right, then the “2013 House Committees” link.)
3. 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.
4. 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 HB13-1269. 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.
From Conservation Colorado, why this legislation is needed:
FACT: 3 of 9 oil & gas commissioners work for the industry they are supposed to be regulating.
FACT: At the recent rulemaking hearing, multiple commissioners who work for the oil & gas industry stated that they felt that the meager 500-foot protective setback from homes, and the many loop-holes provided to industry, were a fair compromise since they had a “dual mandate” to both foster oil and gas development and protect the public and the environment.
FACT: During the rulemakings in 2008, 2012, and 2013, the oil & gas industry threatened to sue the COGCC based on the fact that new regulations would conflict with the requirement that the agency not “waste” resources by leaving them in the ground.
FACT: In 2012, the State Attorney General and Colorado Oil and Gas Association sued the City of Longmont for attempting to use its zoning authority to regulate the location of oil and gas facilities. One of the bases for the lawsuit was that industry needed to be able to drill in residential areas because the state prohibits “waste” of the resource.
Thanks again…this is what Democracy looks like!