DENVER — Today, SB 19-181, Protect Public Welfare Oil and Gas Operations, passed the Colorado State Senate on a 19-15 vote.
The bill will:
- Refocus the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to prioritize health safety and the environment over industry profits;
- Empower local governments to have a stronger say by clarifying basic powers such as zoning and noise limitations and allowing local oversight and enforcement of operations;
- Addresses the growing climate, air, water, and wildlife impacts of oil and gas development across the state including increasing regulations for methane, a dangerous air pollutant that is a significant contributor to climate change;
- Better protect property owners from forced pooling; and,
- Combat the growing problem of orphaned wells by setting forth a rule making around financial assurances and bonding requirements for oil and gas permits.
Conservation and community groups responded to the bill’s Senate passage with the following statements.
“Thank you to the Colorado State Senate for acting decisively to prioritize Colorado’s air, water, and residents over oil and gas industry profits. This bill is nearly a decade in the making. We urge the House to act swiftly, pass these common-sense reforms, and send them to Governor Polis to sign so we can put Coloradans’ health and safety first.”
— Kelly Nordini, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado
“This is a transformational step forward for a common sense, balanced approach to fracking in Colorado. We applaud leaders in the state Senate, and local officials across Colorado, for their bravery in the face of corporate special interests.”
— Jim Alexee, Director, Colorado Sierra Club
“We are thankful to the state Senate for their leadership and for taking the time to bill thoughtful legislation that truly puts the health and safety of Colorado communities first. It is past time that we make health and safety the priority of the state when if comes to Big Oil and neighborhood drilling.”
— Sara Loflin, Executive Director, League of Oil and Gas Impacted Coloradans
“The state Senate is showing real national leadership, showing other states how to protect communities from the public health and safety impacts of oil and gas extraction. The House should follow suit quickly.”
— Sam Gilchrist, Western Campaigns Director, NRDC
“Western Coloradans cheer the passage of SB 181 out of the state Senate as a long overdue step to protect the public health and safety of residents living with the impacts of oil and gas.”
— Emily Hornback, Director, Western Colorado Alliance