(April 9) – Responding to public concern and acting to restore trust in the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the House approved a bill today to increase public confidence in the state’s regulation of oil and gas operators.

HB13-1269, sponsored by Rep. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette), enhances accountability for the COGCC and increases its independence from the oil and gas industry that it regulates.

The bill refocuses the COGCC on public health, safety and welfare.

During floor debate the bill was amended to require commissioners to disclose their financial ties to the oil and gas industry they’re supposed to be regulating, and to tighten recusal rules in cases of conflict of interest. The amendments replaced language prohibiting new members of the commission from simultaneously being employed by an oil and gas operator.

The bill also clarifies that the COGCC’s mission to prevent waste of oil and gas resources “does not supersede regulation by the commission of the impacts of oil and gas exploration or production on public health, safety, and welfare or the environment.”

“We’re creating more transparency and accountability and restoring the public’s trust in the COGCC,” Rep. Foote said after the 34-29 vote that sent the bill to the Senate. “Going forward, our constituents can be confident that the mission of the agency is to regulate oil and gas activities and protect public health and safety.”

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