Gas-rule delay to be discussed today at Capitol

Bill would postpone for one year series of rules regulating industry

Oil and gas advocates and environmentalists are expected to descend today on the state Capitol to debate whether Colorado should wait a year to implement a series of oil and gas regulations.

Senate Bill 4, sponsored by Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, and Rep. Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, was rescheduled Monday to go before the Senate Local Government and Energy Committee this afternoon.

The bill was originally slated for a Monday hearing before a different committee. Then Sen. Gail Schwartz, D-Snowmass Village, requested that her committee handle the bill.

Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, announced the arrangement Monday afternoon.
Senate Bill 4 would effectively sideline the new rules, approved in December, from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. The bill’s proponents have cited the need to keep the state’s energy industry thriving as a reason for the regulatory delay.

Brophy said he had planned on having his bill laid over and transferred to Schwartz’s committee for a hearing next week but was surprised when the bill was scheduled for this afternoon.

Even with the shorter-than-expected delay, Brophy said he expects a heated debate over the oil and gas regulations.

Gov. Bill Ritter, who successfully pushed for a rule-making overhaul in 2007, defended the commission’s work product Monday in Grand Junction, calling it an effort to balance a strong oil and gas industry with air, water and wildlife protections.

“We believe we struck the balance here in allowing the industry to continue to thrive,” Ritter said.

He said when the rules came up for a final vote before the commission in December they received a unanimous vote, including the support of commissioners with oil and gas backgrounds.

To learn more about Senate Bill 4 or to listen in on the hearing, visit http://www.leg.state.co.us.


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