Convene for Green on March 18

‘Fractivists’ at Civic Park in Denver for the Frack Free Colorado rally on October 23, 2012.

‘Fractivists’ at Civic Park in Denver for the Frack Free Colorado rally on October 23, 2012.

With seven gun bills currently making their way through the Colorado Legislature, it has been a combative session. So far only one bill has been passed on to Governor Hickenlooper – making gun purchasers pay for their background checks. Seems like a no-brainer.

The temperature is about to rise in Denver as Colorado Democrats have announced plans to introduce at least 14 oil and gas bills. Some of the proposed bills are expected to deal with public health and the environment.

Democrats to propose environmental protection near drilling sites

Today, House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Gunbarrel) said, “There will be something on local control, probably in conjunction with setbacks.”

Colo. Dems to pitch expanded city, county control over fracking
New legislation pushing local control of oil and gas development is expected to be introduced in the Legislature by early next week

The first bill was introduced this week and, not surprisingly, seeks to strengthen the COGCC. Senate Bill 202, sponsored by Sen. Matt Jones (D-Louisville), would add more state inspectors in order to inspect every oil and gas “location” in the state once a year. Currently there are 50,375 active wells across the state.

Bill would bolster Colorado oil and gas regulator

Senate Bill 13-202

I say “not surprisingly” because if you have ever contacted your state senator or representative about oil & gas issues, you were directed to the COGCC. The state of Colorado is really proud of the COGCC. Most legislators think the COGCC is doing a good job of regulating oil & gas development.  Those of us who live in Western Colorado see things quite differently. The photos and the article below illustrate the “dystopian nightmare” of this rabbit hole we’ve gone down.

A Must Read Account of Fracking Colorado

So you’ll have to excuse my lack of enthusiasm for the Colorado Legislature. They took us down this rabbit hole in the first place. I’ve never considered we had any friends in Denver. Now we’re told the Democrats are ready to rumble. They want to hear what we have to say. Because fracking moratoriums, marches, protests, gasfield tours, videos, studies, and individual testimonies aren’t enough for them. They want us to call and write – or better yet come to Denver and chat it up face-to-face. You know, lobby.

The good news is that the Democrats are listening. For those of us in Western Garfield County who are concerned about the impacts of oil & gas drilling we won’t find a sympathetic ear with State Representative Bob Rankin (R) or State Senator Randy Baumgardner (R), but it doesn’t hurt to let them know how you feel. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity to irritate them.

Another option is to join other like-minded activists and talk to Democrats in the  State Legislature who want to hear from residents impacted by oil & gas drilling.

On Monday, March 18, conservationists from all over the state will gather to lobby state legislators. Conservation Colorado is sponsoring Convene for Green 2013, a day of lobbying action on drilling and fracking issues. For West Slope residents, they will be holding a “lobby lunch” via Skype in Grand Junction.

RSVP here for Convene for Green 2013, the conservation community’s legislative reception.

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