DENVER, CO – After testifying in front of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) during their pivotal rulemaking process for SB19-181, bill sponsors Speaker KC Becker, Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, Rep. Yadira Caraveo, and Sen. Mike Foote today released the following statement:
“We worked with a broad coalition of stakeholders to pass SB19-181, which represented the most sweeping reforms to Colorado’s oil and gas industry in decades. We greatly appreciated the opportunity today to continue engaging in these reforms and ensure the intent of the legislature is interpreted appropriately. We are grateful to the Commission and their staff for developing the draft rules to change the mission and fundamentally alter the way the Commission regulates the oil and gas industry. It is a monumental task and we value their careful deliberation during this process.
“As we’ve made clear in the past, our intent with SB19-181, was to prioritize public health, safety and welfare, and the environment instead of “fostering” development of the industry. If a proposed oil and gas development cannot occur in a manner that is consistent with this new mission, it should not be approved. We believe this will and should represent a sea change in our state’s oil and gas industry, not just a course correction.
“During this rulemaking process, the portion of this bill that has generated the most debate is the role of local governments in regulating oil and gas production in Colorado. SB19-181 makes it crystal clear that while both the COGCC and local governments have the authority to regulate surface oil and gas operations, local government regulations can only be stricter, or more protective, than state regulations. While the COGCC is now charged with creating a statewide standard to protect public health, safety and welfare, and the environment, local governments have the ability to go above and beyond this statewide ‘floor’.
“We understand that there has been some opposition to this specific provision, and as elected representatives in a democracy, we welcome policy debates. However, disagreeing with a piece of legislation does not give an industry the ability to change a bill’s intent after it has become law. We look forward to seeing the COGCC continue to implement this critical piece of legislation and ensuring that health, safety and welfare, and the environment are our top priorities.”