Reprieve for gas rules

A few state lawmakers in Denver, including Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, wanted to say “Nevermind,” on new oil and gas regulations this week.

“Nevermind,” that the state Legislature approved legislation two years ago that required changes in the rules and in the makeup of the state agency that formulates them.

And “nevermind” that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission spent more than a year formulating the rules it passed unanimously in December, that it held repeated public hearings around the state and sought input from a variety of individuals and organizations, including gas producers.

Some lawmakers wanted to block implementation of the rules for more than a year.

Fortunately, a majority of members on the Senate Local Government and Energy Committee rejected the idea and killed Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, and Bradford.

Now the Legislature will examine the rules adopted by the oil and gas commission to see if they conform with the bills passed in 2007, as it has every right to do. We expect the Legislature will make some changes, perhaps even a few substantial ones.

But we don’t expect lawmakers to toss out or delay the entire set of rules — which were approved with widespread public support because people want enhanced environmental and health protection for gas drilling — in response to a global downturn in energy prices that is causing gas companies to cut back on their drilling plans in Colorado.

We’re pleased to see the majority on the Senate committee declined to do what Bradford and Brophy sought.


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