Colorado Rising Statement on SB-181 with Amendments

March 29, 2019

Colorado, oil and gas drilling

Drilling rig near Bella Romero Academy in Weld County

PRESS RELEASE

DENVER — On Thursday, March 28th, the Colorado House of Representatives amended and passed SB-181 to better regulate the oil and gas industry in Colorado.

SB19-181:  Protect Public Welfare Oil And Gas Operations REREVISED

Anne Lee Foster, Communications Director of Colorado Rising, the grassroots, citizen group behind Prop 112 said “Despite some concerning amendments, SB-181 is still a step in the right direction. There were some very obvious loopholes granted to industry. Rule-making will be critical in protecting Coloradans and making sure 181 fulfills the new mandate of prioritizing health and safety. Colorado Rising will be there to empower communities and fight for and our environment and public health.”

Breakdown of concerning amendments below. Corresponding text has been lifted from the document. Click here to follow along with bill’s text.

Page 7, line 7

A REQUIREMENT TO REDUCE EMISSIONS FROM PNEUMATIC DEVICES. THE COMMISSION SHALL CONSIDER REQUIRING OIL AND GAS OPERATORS, UNDER APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES, TO USE PNEUMATIC DEVICES THAT DO NOT VENT NATURAL GAS

CR:  Who decided what an appropriate circumstance to use pneumatic devices is?

Page 8, line 5, 6

(g) Regulating the use of land on the basis of the impact OF THE USE on the community or surrounding areas;

CR:  This addition greatly narrows the authority of local government. Overall an unnecessary and confusing addition.

Page 19, line 13, 14

[Regarding COGCC members] A PERSON WHO HAS WORKED WITH OR FOR AN ENERGY OR ENVIRONMENTAL ENTITY NEED NOT BE DISQUALIFIED IF THE PERSON’S EXPERIENCE SHOWS SUBJECT MATTER KNOWLEDGE COUPLED WITH AN ABILITY TO RENDER INFORMED, THOROUGH, AND BALANCED DECISION-MAKING.

CR:  This is a huge loophole for conflict of interest for commissioners

Page 26, line 11, 12

(2.5) (a) IN EXERCISING THE AUTHORITY GRANTED BY THIS ARTICLE 60, THE COMMISSION SHALL REGULATE OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS IN A REASONABLE MANNER TO PROTECT AND MINIMIZE ADVERSE IMPACTS TO PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES AND SHALL PROTECT AGAINST ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ON ANY AIR, WATER, SOIL, OR BIOLOGICAL RESOURCE RESULTING FROM OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS

CR:  The gratuitous addition of “reasonable,” makes it very ambiguous

Page 33, 22-24

(b) (I) In the absence of voluntary pooling, the commission, upon the application.. A PERSON WHO OWNS, OR HAS SECURED THE CONSENT OF THE OWNERS OF, MORE THAN FORTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE MINERAL INTERESTS TO BE POOLED, may enter an order pooling all interests in the drilling unit for the development and operation OF THE DRILLING UNIT. MINERAL INTERESTS THAT ARE OWNED BY A PERSON WHO CANNOT BE LOCATED THROUGH REASONABLE DILIGENCE ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE CALCULATION

CR:  This is a huge loophole to allow the industry to force pool without the 45% mineral owner agreement threshold. Mineral owners who cannot be identified are not included in the overall percentage of agreeing mineral owners. This provides NO DUE PROCESS for unknown mineral owners and doesn’t even require due diligence to identify mineral owners, only reasonable diligence. This is a big issue because industry often can’t identify mineral owners and this will undercut the 45% threshold.

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