(Aug. 4) – Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst applauded today’s announcement of an accord strengthening standards for oil and gas operations in Colorado.

The accord, announced this morning by Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, commits the state to drop its lawsuit against Longmont’s recent oil and gas rules and regulations, as well as to robust enforcement of Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission setback rules. Also included in the accord is the formation of a blue-ribbon commission to make additional recommendations for proposed legislation.

In view of these changes, Congressman Polis agreed to withdraw his financial support for proposed ballot initiatives that would impose stricter controls.

“With this accord we avoid a bitter and costly fight in this year’s election, and we increase protections for Colorado families who have suffered real impacts from the recent boom in oil and gas exploration,” said Rep. Hullinghorst (D-Boulder), who has been a key figure in the negotiations. “This is a good step forward, and I applaud Governor Hickenlooper, Congressman Polis, the conservation community and the oil and gas industry for reaching this accord.”

Rep. Su Ryden (D-Aurora), who had been prepared to sponsor draft legislation to increase counties’ and cities’ control over oil and gas operations within their jurisdictions, said today’s accord makes significant progress.

“I’m pleased that this renewed effort at compromise has produced this result,” Rep. Ryden said. “If more needs to be done legislatively, I hope to be there in the next session to support legislation that will protect the health, safety and quality of life of Colorado families while also supporting responsible oil and gas exploration.”

Rep. Mike Foote (D-Lafayette), whose district includes part of Longmont, said he was especially pleased that the state would drop its challenge to Longmont’s local oil and gas regulations.

“Longmont residents and their city council went through a long and constructive process to put their regulations in place,” Rep. Foote said. “The state’s lawsuit was calling all of that progress into question. I am very glad Longmont can continue to move forward now.”

“This accord is a victory for my constituents and bodes well for other local governments that want to address local oil and gas operations,” said Rep. Jonathan Singer (D-Longmont).

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