Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lobbyist: Bill threatens local controls on oil & gas - Please sign petition against it - HERE

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Feb 5, 2012

But Commissioner Martin says it would maintain the ‘status quo' with industry

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — A bill before the Colorado Legislature is aimed at eliminating any local control over oil and gas activities, according to the Colorado Municipal League, which is opposing the bill.

Introduced by state Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, Senate Bill 88 is before the Senate Local Government Committee, chaired by Sen. Joyce Foster, D-Denver. Its title is “Preempt Local Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations.”

According to a bulletin in the Colorado Municipal League's Jan. 23 Statehouse Report, the bill is “aimed at radically limiting or completely extinguishing local government authority over one class of industrial land use: oil and gas operations.”

Garfield County Commissioner John Martin, however, believes the bill is little more than a restatement of existing law.

“As I read it, local regulations are the ones that would be ‘operational conflicts,'” Martin said. He was referring to existing state law that gives the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) complete jurisdiction over, as Martin termed it, “everything on the pad and underground.”

Local governments, Martin continued, have jurisdiction only over the land-use aspects of the industry, including traffic concerns, air and water quality issues, and the creation of man camps to house employees who work on the drilling rigs and other remote facilities.

“I see it as pretty much the status quo,” Martin said.

But the municipal league and Colorado Counties Inc. (CCI), a lobbying organization for county governments, believe the bill would have serious, negative repercussions if passed.

“It would be devastating,”

said Andy Karsian, legislative supervisor for CCI. “We would undo years of productive relationship-building with the oil and gas industry.”

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