Newly elected legislator to seek delay in gas rules

Bradford, Wray lawmaker plan to introduce bill when session convenes

Mesa County’s newest state lawmaker and one of the state Senate’s senior Republicans plan to introduce legislation next year to delay the implementation of a series of proposed oil and gas regulations.

Incoming Assistant Senate Minority Leader Greg Brophy, R-Wray, said he plans to work with Rep.-elect Laura Bradford, R-Collbran, to delay the implementation of a series of new rules from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

“Everybody knows the new rules will increase the regulatory burden and the cost of doing business in Colorado,” Brophy said. “When you have an industry that is struggling under other issues that you can’t control, the price of the underlying commodity, adding to their burden and cost structure in Colorado seems foolish to me.”

Brophy has been a longtime critic of the oil and gas rule-making process, even after he voted to start the rule-making overhaul in April 2007.

Bradford made the new regulations one of the focal points in her successful campaign to unseat state Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction.

Bradford could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Evan Dreyer, spokesman for the governor, called the duo’s idea crazy. Dreyer said delaying the implementation of the energy regulations creates more uncertainty for the oil and gas industry.

“We’re trying to create an environment that encourages responsible energy development in a tough economic time and brings balance to natural resource protection,” Dreyer said.

State lawmakers and the governor pushed for the rule overhaul during the 2007 session.

The new rules include provisions for the protection of wildlife habitat and groundwater and incorporate environmental and public health concerns into the permitting process.

The rule-making process drew fire during the past year from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. They said the proposed regulations, finalized this month, extended beyond the legislative mandate.

The rules are expected to come up for legislative review during the 2009 session, which starts next week.


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