Diary of a citizen activist

Guest post by Leslie Robinson
Leslie is an activist with the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance and serves as the group’s representative on GarCo’s Energy Advisory Board. She attended the COGCC rulemaking hearing on November 14. She offers us her unique insider’s perspective on the rulemaking process.

Dear Diary:

Here we are again, getting ready for another Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s rulemaking process on December 11 & 12. Of course, all the meetings will be in Denver starting at 9:00 a.m., so weather permitting, the bus will be leaving Junction around 5:00 a.m. to pick up the citizen-participants along I-70 for the trek east. To get ready, most of us traveling will be up by 3:00 a.m. If winter weather hits, groups like the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance might have the added expense of hotel rooms for a couple of nights in Denver. Plus, most of us have regular jobs so we will lose income to attend.

No, Diary, those folks in Denver sure don’t do much to encourage regular citizens from the Western Slope to state their case.

I hope this time the meeting is in a big room that will accommodate all. Remember, Diary, during the 2007-08 rulemaking process where everyone was squeezed into that small COGCC meeting room? Those oil-and-gas lawyers and lobbyists standing in back sucked the air right out of the place for us regular folks. I-N-T-I-M-I-D-A-T-I-O-N was a dish served cold. At least I could escape into the ladies room to breathe, but the poor men in our group …

As if it wasn’t enough to go through this torture before the COGCC, all the new rules had to be regurgitated in the legislature for final approval. Again, another red-eye busload went down to Denver to repeat stories of horror before a legislative committee. There we got to experience partisan politics, in addition to O&G politics. Most of the time it was hard to tell the difference.

Diary, my learning curve had 45-degree angles back then. Those O&G guys had been doing rulemaking for at least 100 years when most of us citizens were “freshmen” back in ‘08. Afterwards, I felt my experiences were worth at least a couple of college semesters in political science. Now that I’ve chalked up four more years of O&G politics with another go-around in COGCC rulemaking and probable legislation, I should be worthy of another college degree.

In perspective, some folks have lost more than the cost of a college education to defend their homes. What’s a little lost sleep in comparison? So that’s why we’ll keep going to Denver.

Well, Diary. I promise I will write more later.

PS: Now that more women are in the O&G profession, alas, the ladies room is no longer a sanctuary.

Coming soon – Part 2

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