Blue Wave Hits Colorado

A Democratic majority will take their seats in the Colorado Senate in January, ushering in a new era for the state. At the helm, Jared Polis, Democrat, will take his seat as Governor. Also victorious in the Colorado Attorney General race was Phil Weiser, a Democrat, who will replace Cynthia Coffman, who many see as a strong proponent for the oil and gas industry in Colorado.

While it’s unclear what impact this blue wave will have on the oil and gas development in Colorado and locally, some speculate that this new leadership may be the key to opening conversations about future regulatory reforms. John Spina from the Daily Camera, writes this in his article “Proponents of Proposition 112 hope new Democratic leadership could open the door for increased oil-and-gas regulation” :¬†“Despite the fact Proposition 112, which would have increased setbacks for new oil-and-gas operations from 500 to 2,500 feet throughout the state, lost by 260,000 votes Tuesday night, proponents of the initiative remain optimistic for future regulatory reform with a newly elected Democratic majority in the State Legislature as well as a Democratic attorney general and governor.”

The article highlights that proponents of 112 hope to lobby new leadership to increase local control, which might include increasing setbacks within communities instead of on the state level. Other possible wins might include incentivizing renewable energy options or enacting zoning regulations to limit where these industrial operations can set up shop.

Broomfield’s own City Councilperson Guyleen Castriotta is quoted in the article, promoting her plans to protect Broomfield residents from the industry: “I’m going to bring noise and odor ordinances before the council this year to try and mitigate the damage that we’re already being subjected to.” She believes that having a Democratic Attorney General will lessen Broomfield’s chances of getting sued by the state.

Also seemingly at the top of people’s mind is reforming the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, or COGCC, in order to hold the organization accountable to their mission of regulating the industry. Spina reminds us that five of the seven commissioners term out in July, and the new blood in the Colorado Legislature will likely be looking to the Governor to appoint more “conservation-minded members” moving forward.