Bill would shed light on ‘fracking’ fluids

Glenwood Springs Democrat wants state to work with feds, monitor environmental effects

Rep. Roger Wilson knows there’s no money in the state’s coffers to increase monitoring of hydraulic fracturing fluids being pumped into some oil and gas fields around the state.

But the Glenwood Springs Democrat wants to do what he can now to live up to a campaign promise to bring at least some light to what sort of chemicals oil and gas drillers are using and what impact those chemicals might have on the environment.

That’s why he introduced HB1172, which was one of several new bills introduced into the Colorado Legislature this week.

“All my bill does is ask for an evaluation to be reported to the state Legislature of the federal report to see if there are any health or environmental effects that the state and its citizens need to be concerned about,” he said.

Wilson is referring to an annual EPA study on what types of fluids are being used around the nation and what impacts they may have on the environment. His bill asks the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment to review that EPA study and report on what issues it might contain and public complaints that have been addressed in Colorado.

Under current state law, drillers are not required to reveal what fluids are being pumped into the ground. The process, called fracking, is used to free oil and gas from deep formations.

While drillers don’t want to reveal that information because they consider it proprietary to their business interests, its use has created concerns among the public about what impact it might be having on groundwater and the surface environment.

Wilson said he has no reason to believe drillers are doing anything wrong, but he quickly added the public has a need to know about potential problems, so they can be prevented.

Another measure introduced this week would increase by 10 cents all movie tickets sold in the state.

Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs, wants to use money from those sales to fund an incentive program designed to lure more movie and commercial production in the state.

It is an issue that Massey’s worked on for years. He says that unlike Colorado, other Western states have increased the amount of money they have for sales and income tax credits to the film industry. Massey said increasing film production in the state boosts the economy through increased sales and free national advertising.

Other bills introduced this week included a bill to offer in-state college tuition to Colorado high school students regardless of whether they are in the nation legally, a measure mandating that legislative staff review all bills introduced into the General Assembly to determine their impact on businesses, and a bill to reinstate a sales tax exemption on soft drinks.


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