Comprehensive Oil and Gas Bill Passes State Finance Committee

By a 4-3 vote, SB 19-181 passed the Senate Finance Committee late Thursday afternoon and was referred next to the Senate Appropriations Committee.  After about a six hour hearing for the comprehensive oil and gas bill, the vote was: 

Yes- Sen. Lois Court (D), Sen. Julie Gonzales (D), Sen. Peter Lee (D), Sen. Nancy Todd (D)

No – Sen. Paul Lundeen (R), Sen. Jack Tate (R), Sen. Rob Woodword (R)

After Tuesday’s marathon public testimony and passage of SB 19-181 in the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee, the citizen testimony for the bill in the Finance Committee today was largely in favor of the bill.  With a focus on Broomfield and with apologies if someone was missed:

-Broomfield residents testifying for the bill were: Council Member Guyleen Castriotta, Heidi Henkel, Jean Lim, Lizzie Lario, Neil Allaire, Lois Vanderkooi

Broomfield residents Laurie Anderson, Mark Lindner, Ann Marie Cleary and Patty Sullivan were also in attendance at the hearing. 

Led by Sen. Paul Lundeen’s questions, Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer gave lengthy testimony regarding the detrimental economic impact to Weld County if the bill were to pass.  Following Commissioner Kirkmeyer’s testimony, Broomfield City Council Member Guyleen Castriotta presented a long list of the extensive costs to Broomfield due to operator oil and gas development.  She said that these costs were due to a lack of local control and State oversight which would be improved by the bill.

The bill next goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee where there is no public testimony.  If you wish to write or call the members of the Appropriations Committee, they are:

The bill would head to the Senate floor next.  You can read the text of the bill here

According to an email from Senator Mike Foote’s office, the bill will:

-“Change the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to prioritize health and safety over industry profits.  It removes the charge of ‘fostering’ oil and gas development and replaces it with the duty to ‘regulate’ it in a way that prioritizes health and safety.”

-“Removes two of the three oil and gas industry representatives to the COGCC and replaces them with a wildlife protection expert and a public health expert.” 

-“Allows local governments to treat oil and gas operations just like they do every other industry, including the ability to condition or deny permits.”

-“Requires an operator to inform and get a permit from a local government first rather than the current process of getting a permit from the COGCC and then ambushing the local jurisdiction.” 

– “Reforms forced pooling to require a majority of mineral interests to agree before others can be pooled and adds health and safety as a consideration in deciding whether to allow forced pooling.”  

-“Requires forthcoming rulemakings (under a new COGCC mission and leadership and new CDPHE leadership) to address air quality issues and bonding requirements.”