GOP legislators focus on energy regulations

Republican legislators promised a concerted effort in the coming legislative session to lift constraints on the state’s energy industry.

House Speaker Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch, flanked by Mesa County legislators Laura Bradford and Ray Scott, as well as Reps. Randy Bumgardner of Hot Sulfur Springs, Don Coram of Montrose and Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling, met with energy industry representatives Friday in a Western Slope energy and jobs roundtable at Colorado Mesa University.

The “overriding concern” from representatives of coal, oil and gas, nuclear, solar, and other energy related industries was a lack of certainty that they could get permits for projects even if they met requirements, McNulty said.

Some industry representatives said they had projects languishing for months and years, McNulty said, leading to the inability of companies to attract capital to the state.

Unnecessarily tight regulation is leading “to the strangulation of our local industries,” Scott said.

It’s particularly frustrating for her constituents, who are constantly on edge about whether they’ll be able to keep their jobs, Bradford said.

“Enough with shovel-ready jobs,” Bradford said. “We have jobs here and could have work tomorrow.”

The legislators said they will pursue a series of bills aimed at freeing up the hand of the energy industry to operate in the state.

The session made it clear that President Barack Obama is uninterested in pursuing energy development and that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado, “doesn’t give a rip” about developing domestic energy reserves, McNulty said.


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