On Monday, March 18, the Democrats and Boulder liberals launched an all-day attack
on Colorado’s Oil and Gas Industry by introducing SB19-181, “Protect Public Welfare
for Oil and Gas Operations.” Do not let the title fool you, this bill is designed to cripple
Colorado’s Oil and Gas industry.
As a member of the Energy and Environment committee, we heard all day and into the
night from concerned citizens who work in the Oil and Gas industry, industry experts,
ranchers and farmers, mineral owners and others who wanted to protect one of
Colorado’s most important industries.
In the end, the scare tactics of environmental extremists, industry opponents and
supporters of last fall’s FAILED proposition 112 won the day. All the Democrats on the
committee voted FOR SB19-181, all of the Republicans voted NO. It is interesting to
note that none of the Democrats on the committee have significant Oil and Gas
operations in their districts and none represent rural Colorado which is greatly affected
by this legislation.
Briefly, what SB19-181 will do is to pile on more rules and regulations on an already
regulated and safe industry. The bill grants authority to the Director of the Oil and Gas
Conservation Committee to refuse any permit they so choose. It also allows any city or
town to promulgate any rules to regulate all aspects of Oil and Gas operations, including
control over citing, air quality and much more. In many cases this will give municipalities
whose goal it is to ban all development of Coloradans’ mineral property the ability to do
so. There are many negative points to this dangerous and insidious bill.
Make no doubt about it, as SB19-181 is fully implemented, over the next 10 years, it
could cause a reduction of 50% of new Oil and Gas production. It will cause a loss of
120,000 fewer jobs in all sectors of the economy, and a loss of $8 billion in tax revenue
through 2030. Last but not least, there will be a loss of over $150 billion in GDP from
2020-2030 to Colorado’s overall economy.
In all my years in the legislature, I have never seen such a determined attack on one
industry in Colorado. Our Oil and Gas experts, industry professionals and elected
officials from the Oil and Gas producing counties were never consulted in drafting this
bill by the bill’s sponsors. SB19-181 as currently amended will cause significant harm to
our economy by the end of 2019. As always I welcome your comments and it is my
honor to represent you at the Capitol.
Representative Larry Liston