Drillers may have to reveal plans
Local governments would be allowed to ask oil and gas operators working in their jurisdictions what their long-range plans are when it comes to drilling, under a bill that narrowly cleared the Colorado House on Thursday.
While the 34 Democrats who voted for HB1430 said the measure merely allows counties to ask that question, the 31 Republicans who voted against it said it’s really a mandate on drillers.
“If the true intent of the bill is to have these requirements be permissive, I would suggest to you that arguing that this bill is permissive is disingenuous,” said Rep. Cole Wist, R-Centennial.
“Don’t be fooled. This is a kinder and gentler version of (HB) 1355, which we voted down.”
That second measure, which died when two Democrats joined Republicans in opposing it, was designed to “clarify” that state law allows local governments control over land-use matters on the surface, particularly when it deals with any type of development.
This measure, however, is only intended to help local governments know what drillers expect to be doing in years to come so they can make those land use decisions, said. Rep. Steve Lebsock, D-Thornton, who introduced the bill.
“We’re only asking oil and gas operators to share ... oil and gas plans with the county just the same as (state rules) you’re required to share those plans with cities,” Lebsock said.
“It does not give cities and counties veto power. It does not give cities and counties any more authority at all. All this bill says is a county may request the information from the oil and gas operator before the development.”
The bill passed on a 34-31 party-line vote. It heads to the Senate, where Republicans have a one-vote majority.
The House gave approval to a bill that would allow parents whose children are taking some form of medical marijuana to bring it on school grounds.
The measure, HB1373, started out as a mandate on school districts to approve policies to allow the practice, but its sponsor, Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, amended that out. Instead, the bill is consistent with current law that allows schools to approve such policies.
If they don’t, however, parents still can bring the medical marijuana onto campus.
Singer said he got the Colorado Legislature to approve the idea last year, but because only one of the state’s 178 districts is even considering such policies, he wanted to take the issue a step further.
Singer said he hopes the bill will force school districts to have the conversation about the matter.
Mesa School District 51 was one of the districts that never even discussed the idea. Currently, the district has a policy banning all forms of marijuana, medical or not.
Many school districts opposed the bill, saying they feared they might lose federal funding if they have formal policies allowing it.
There are about 300 students statewide who are on a state registry taking some form of medical marijuana, which primarily is limited to patches, oils or edibles.
The bill, which now heads to the Colorado Senate, bars any use of smokeable marijuana on school grounds.
The bill passed on a 56-9 vote, with Rep. Yeulin Willett, R-Grand Junction, the only local lawmaker voting against it.